President Barack Obama’s administration defended plans to regulate emissions from cement plants and industrial boilers and said Republican lawmakers don’t need to delay the rules to save jobs.
Less than a week after Obama quashed new Environmental Protection Agency standards for ozone citing the threat to the economy, the EPA’s top air official said today the cement and boiler proposals present no such tradeoff.
“These are rules that are long overdue,” Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy testified to the energy and power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “It’s misleading to say that implementation of the Clean Air Act costs jobs.”
Republicans in Congress have proposed measures to scuttle or postpone regulations put in place or under development by the EPA, saying business owners need encouragement to spur economic recovery.
“A lot of Americans are not investing in their companies because there is such uncertainty out there in the marketplace over these regulations,” said Representative Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican.
The subcommittee today considered measures that would delay limits on mercury from cement-plant smokestacks and on toxic releases from industrial boilers at factories such as refineries and chemical manufacturers.
The EPA is reworking the boiler standards, planning to update them by the end of October and put them in place in April.
Republicans said the rules are being rushed.
“Both the cement and the boiler bills allow -- in fact require -- that new emissions controls be implemented,” said Representative Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who is the subcommittee’s chairman. “But they replace unrealistic targets and timetables with achievable ones.”
McCarthy said the rules were originally intended to be final in 2000.
“We believe there would be job growth and there are technologies that are available to address” these rules, she said.
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