12.01.2014 1

EPA in the crosshairs of new Republican majority

anti-epaBy Tom Toth

Over the first five years of the Obama Administration, the federal government has issued 157 major regulations, costing the American people and businesses around $73 billion per year, a recent estimate by the Heritage Foundation found.

In response, the American people spoke with an unwavering, unified voice on November 4 and the message to Congressional Republicans was clear: stop Barack Obama’s radical executive overreach and the Democrat Party that has enabled it.

And that’s exactly what they intend to do.

The front lines of the Administration’s alarmist war on coal literally hits home for the new incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who during this year’s campaign identified the his top priority in January’s new Congress to “do whatever I can to get the EPA reined in.”

Anti-coal regulations from the EPA has virtually eliminated the financial feasibility of establishing new coal-fired power plants in the United States and new regulations threaten the industry altogether, all the while the livelihoods of thousands of energy workers hang in the balance, hundreds of years of inexpensive, efficient potential energy won’t be used to power the next century of American development, and needy American families, whom are already suffering from rising energy costs directly caused by sweeping overregulation, will bear the brunt of the cost.

There are, however, several means for the McConnell-led Senate to accomplish rolling back Obama’s radical EPA.

All regulations from federal agencies such as the EPA are under the direct funding and oversight of Congress. With that power, Congress can utilize the appropriations process and Congressional oversight to confine the EPA with funding restraints, for example, against the carbon endangerment finding or new rules for coal power plants set to take effect in June.

Congressional members and staffers from both the House and Senate have stated openly that no EPA regulation is off the negotiating table on budget talks with the White House.

The wind production tax credit faces renewal in January and, as a tool of Obama’s anti-coal agenda, it is an obvious target for a crony capitalist-averse Congress to eliminate.

And perhaps most importantly, different legislative options make the EPA’s job-killing regulations — especially the most onerous and unpopular power plant rules — vulnerable targets for the Republican majority. Barack Obama enters his lame duck session already facing close to the lowest approval numbers his Administration has seen and Republicans are showing zero willingness to spare the President difficult decisions between passing popular, common sense bills while not vetoing the same bill due to equally popular portions that would rein in the EPA.

Of course, it won’t be a fast or an easy undertaking by any means. Most likely, it won’t be until a Republican occupies the Oval Office before true reform to collapse Obama’s radical regulatory environment can take full shape. But understanding this, there is no time to waste.

There are over 120 remaining major regulations (or regulations that will cost the private sector at least $100 million annually) that Obama’s radical regulatory state is working on as this is written, leaving an unknown amount of jobs and future productivity in peril.

The final levee between the full damaging power of the final wave of regulations from a lame duck (free bird?) Obama Administration no longer facing electoral consequences is the people’s newly elected Republican majority with a clear mandate to hold back the flood as much as possible.

Given Senator McConnell’s profound commitment to stopping the EPA’s overreach, this should be a battle worth watching during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress.

Tom Toth is a contributing editor and the digital content director for Americans for Limited Government.

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