Obama Backs Pending EPA Rules After Pulling Back on Ozone, Waxman Says
President Barack Obama’s administration pledged to move ahead with proposed environmental regulations affecting utilities and manufacturers after pulling back smog rules, a Democratic lawmaker said.
After Obama quashed regulations to lower ozone limits, “I was told by people in the White House that they felt this would give them stronger grounds to stop Republicans who want to delay or postpone or eliminate” additional pollution-control proposals, Representative Henry Waxman, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in an interview taped today for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” which airs on Sundays.
“They are going to hold the line,” said Waxman, of California.
Obama told the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 2 that tighter standards on ozone, which causes smog, would impose unnecessary regulatory expenses on a weak U.S. economy. The ozone rule, which the White House estimated would cost $19 billion to $90 billion, was the most expensive under consideration by the administration.
The Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest U.S. industry lobbying group, praised Obama’s action on ozone. Representatives of the groups met in August with White House Chief of Staff William Daley to complain about the costs.
Up next on the EPA’s agenda are rules designed to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants, cement factories and industrial boilers used by many industries, including paper manufacturing and hospitals.
“As the president has made clear, the administration will continue to take steps to defend the authority of the Clean Air Act and the important progress we have made to protect the air we breathe,” Clark Stevens, a White House spokesman, said in an e-mail.
The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has promised to delay or derail implementation of six air- pollution standards.
A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation this week that would postpone the cement- plant and boiler regulations. The entire committee is scheduled to vote on it next week and will also hold a hearing on regulatory processes with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
The full House is scheduled to vote next week on a measure that would subject all EPA rules to an independent economic assessment.
Waxman said that none of those measures would become law because the Senate is unlikely to take them up, “and if they get to the president, I expect him to veto them,” he said.
The EPA didn’t respond to e-mails requesting comment.
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