Wicker & Cochran Cosponsor Bill to Force EPA to Consider Economic Impact of Clean Air Rules

March 27, 2014

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss) today said they are cosponsoring legislation that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing any major Clean Air Act regulation without considering its economic impact.

The EPA Employment Impact Analysis Act (S.2161) was introduced Wednesday by Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.). It would force the EPA to adhere to Section 321(a) of the Clean Air Act, which requires EPA to conduct continuing evaluations of potential loss of jobs that result from enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

“EPA’s rapid expansion should not move forward without full knowledge of how its existing rules are impacting American jobs,” said Wicker, who serves on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). “EPA is legally obligated to analyze its policies’ cost to the economy and ought to comply with the law.”

“Federal regulations have real consequences including the jobs lost and costly compliance burdens on businesses,” Cochran said. “Unfortunately, it is needed because of the Obama administration’s belief that it has free rein to implement the Clean Air Act in ways that are extraordinarily costly. We have experienced this first-hand in Mississippi when the administration failed to give adequate consideration to the economic impact of the nonattainment ozone designation in DeSoto County.”

Inhofe, a senior member on the EPW Committee, included in the legislation examples of instances where the EPA did not follow Clean Air Act requirements for ongoing reviews of regulations it initially indicated would create increase employment but ended up eliminating jobs. Some of these examples include the agency’s rules on cross state air pollution and Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) regulations for boilers and utilities.

In recent years, Wicker and Cochran have been critical of EPA regulatory efforts regarding ozone rulings affecting DeSoto County, as well as Boiler MACT regulations for fossil fuel and biomass-fueled boilers.

Wicker and Cochran are among 29 original cosponsors to the S.2161, which has been referred to the EPW Committee. Other cosponsors include Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and David Vitter (R-La.).