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Republicans Seek Information on EPA Rules, Power Industry

U.S. House Republican leaders are seeking information from the Obama administration about possible harm to the electricity-generating industry from Environmental Protection Agency rules.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, and two subcommittee chairman asked the EPA about how it analyzes the effect of new rules on the power industry, according to letters released today by the committee. Requests also were made to the Energy Department and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees power distribution.

President Barack Obama’s EPA is under fire from Republicans such as Upton who say agency regulations will hurt the economy and destroy jobs. New and pending rules under scrutiny include limits on greenhouse gases blamed for climate change and a proposal to cut mercury and air toxins from coal-fired plants.

“The committee is concerned that the Obama EPA has been regulating too much too fast, without fully analyzing the feasibility and economic impacts of its new rules,” the House panel said in a statement.

The panel wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking whether the agency studied how regulations will affect energy, manufacturing and trade-exposed industries such as cement, paper and steel.

The lawmakers asked whether the EPA consulted with the Energy Department, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Council on Environmental Quality or the Office of Management and Budget about the impact of rules on electricity reliability.

The rules are “sensible steps to protect public health,” according to an EPA statement today. The agency is working with companies to ensure that Clean Air Act rules are “reasonable, commonsense and achievable,” according to the statement.

Upton, joined by Representatives Ed Whitfield of Kentucky and Cliff Stearns of Florida, asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu and FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff about consultations between their agencies and EPA on regulations affecting power companies.

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