Citing Economic Costs of EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, Black Conservatives Rally in Support of Rand Paul Resolution to Block It
Washington, D.C. - Black conservatives with the Project 21 black leadership network are rallying in support of efforts to block implementation of the EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which would require 27 states to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
This week, the Senate is expected to vote on a one-sentence resolution offered by Senator Rand Paul, S.J. 27, that "disapproves" of CSPAR, finalized by the EPA in July. Paul's resolution employs the Congressional Review Act, under which a simple majority of senators can disapprove of a regulation. A similar disapproval vote must occur in the House of Representatives, and then the disapproval resolution must receive President Obama's signature in order to stop implementation of the CSAPR.
"Clearly, EPA's regulations are out of control and wreaking havoc on our economy. In anticipation of onerous compliance costs, some utilities are actually closing power plants. This will lead to higher energy prices and jeopardize the reliability of our electricity supply. Hard-working Americans will suffer the consequences of EPA's war on fossil fuels through higher electricity prices that reduce living standards," said Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli. "In particular, higher energy costs will disproportionately harm black households who are already suffering from nearly 17 percent unemployment nationwide."
"It is becoming increasingly clear that the EPA is playing party to the political interests of the Obama Administration's anti-clean coal agenda at the expense of working Americans," said Project 21 Spokesman Jerome Hudson. "How is an agency of over 17,000 bureaucrats and support staff and with an annual budget that has topped $10 billion supposed to be judged at this point as anything other than a regressive impediment to private sector growth? After more than 40 years of leveling restrictive regulations against families and businesses, it seems time to protect taxpayers from the EPA."
"EPA bureaucrats have no idea how much their fascination with regulations hurts the American economy at a time when we can least afford to do so," said Project 21 Spokesman Ak'bar Shabazz. "These new rules are likely to only be effective in giving the federal government oversight into the operations of private businesses and causing those businesses and their customers more hassle and hardship. Obviously, putting Americans back to work is secondary to consolidating government power."
The CSAPR was finalized by the EPA in August of 2011 and is set to begin implementation on the first day of 2012. It would regulate power plant emissions of nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide in 28 states. Critics of the regulation say the five-month deadline for compliance is too quick and that compliance will force energy producers to consider closing power plants -- a move that will put Americans out of work, raise energy prices and possibly threaten the ability to meet Americans' energy needs.
A report by the National Economic Research Associates commissioned by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that the CSAPR and other proposed Obama Administration regulations could raise electricity rates, cause job-killing power plant closures and further threaten power reliability. In particular, it cites CSAPR for going into effect only five months after it was finalized -- noting similar rules in the past gave industry up to five years to meet compliance standards. This quick deadline was similarly criticized in a report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which noted: "If the implementation deadline for CSAPR were significantly delayed, the NERA analysis would expand options for maintaining system reliability."
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) recently addressed how his state is already stretched to the limit with compliance rules: "Indiana recently celebrated significant air quality achievements, having met all national air quality standards for the first time in the history of the Clean Air Act... No sooner do we reach this milestone than the rules change again. In a time of economic crisis, the EPA shouldn't rush to set new standards that will impair the ability to employ the very citizens hoping to benefit from our environmental improvements."
Project 21's Borelli added: "Since the 1970s, utilities have made significant progress in reducing air emissions and protecting our health. Given these major strides, we now need to weigh the economic impact of these regulations -- especially during this time of high unemployment. Obama already pledged to 'make sure we avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation' earlier this year. If he is true to his word, he will work with Senator Paul and others to rein in the EPA."
If passed by both chambers and signed by Obama, the disapproval process would not gut Clean Air regulations. The existing Clean Air Interstate Rule, which the CSAPR would replace, would remain in effect.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for nearly two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).