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Letter of Support: Rep. Griffith's EPA Regulatory Relief Act, H.R. 2250

June 28, 2011 J

Dear Representative Griffith,

On behalf of more than 1.7 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I write to commend you for introducing H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest regulatory push – setting stringent new emissions standards on more than 200,000 boilers, process heaters, and incinerators nationwide – promises high compliance costs that will sap resources from a diverse array of American job-creators. Your bill would address these new job-killing regulations head on, putting them on at least a temporary hold until regulators can sort out technical problems and address strong concerns that the rules are not workable in the real world and will result in thousands of lost jobs.

After years of uncertainty and court battles that left businesses in the dark about the potential for costly new burdens, in late March the EPA published final rules on four interrelated emissions standards for boilers, process heaters, and incinerators. The rules are collectively known as “Boiler MACT,” named for the “maximum achievable control technology” the EPA seeks to impose in order to limit emissions of mercury, dioxin, carbon monoxide, and other similar byproducts that result when boilers and incinerators heat a building or generate electricity.

The EPA’s own estimates paint an ugly picture about the costs imposed by the new regulations: to comply with the new rules businesses will need to invest $5.8 billion in up-front capital expenditures, and annual costs thereafter would amount to more than $2 billion. Previous cost estimates from industry sources were significantly higher. An August 2010 study conducted for the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners by the economic consulting firm IHS Global Insight estimated nearly $21 billion in capital costs for required upgrades, with a result of putting well over 300,000 jobs at risk.

These costs would be dispersed across the American economy, affecting everything from office buildings to hospitals, apartment buildings to colleges and universities. But the most pernicious impact falls on manufacturing and industrial facilities that rely on boilers and process heaters to generate heat and electricity for daily production processes. At a time when Americans are decrying the loss of manufacturing jobs due to competition from foreign countries with lower labor costs, why would this administration impose billions in new costs that further reduce the productivity and competitiveness of American manufacturers?

The EPA itself has asked for more time to fully consider the thousands of comments they’ve received from the public, concerned that they have not yet ironed out all the technical wrinkles that make these new standards un-workable in the real world. At the very least, Congress must step in and allow time for the EPA to re-propose and finalize these rules. Your bill achieves this purpose – providing for a 15 month delay, extending the timeline for allowing companies to comply with the new standards, and giving the EPA further direction to reduce the costs of these burdensome regulations.

Americans for Prosperity believes the last of these points – reducing the regulatory cost incidence of the new emissions standards – is the most vital, especially at a time when the American economy is still struggling to recover from a recession. Complying with federal regulatory burdens cost American businesses more than $1.75 trillion in 2008. This number is unsettling. We simply cannot afford any more unnecessary regulatory compliance costs.

Americans for Prosperity is proud to support your legislation and similar efforts to relieve American businesses from the “hidden tax” of regulatory compliance costs. I urge your colleagues to support its passage, and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Sincerely,

James Valvo
Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity

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