Another Week, Another EPA Overreach

WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 10, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued yet another set of sweeping regulations, which the agency is calling the “Clean Power Plan.” Released by the Obama administration on Monday, this red tape will likely force hundreds of coal-fired power plants to shut their doors, killing jobs and increasing the cost of energy across the state of Nebraska.

According to a 2014 study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the plan could result in the loss of almost a quarter of a million jobs and cost nearly $480 billion to achieve compliance. This regressive penalty on the middle class should not come as a surprise. As President Obama stated in 2008, under his policies “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Nebraska is the only state which relies solely on public power, putting Nebraskans at an even higher risk of being impacted by these harmful new rules.

The Obama administration’s final power plant regulations go even further than their initial proposal, mandating a 32 percent cut in emissions by 2030. This unrealistic reduction rate, nine percent higher than it was before, would diminish America’s most abundant and efficient fuel sources before adequate alternatives are available.

Instead of continuing to increase the EPA’s regulatory authority through burdensome top-down regulations, we should be pursuing an all-of-the-above energy policy to ensure all Americans have access to efficient and affordable sources of electricity. In Congress, I continue to advance policies to support American energy and fight the EPA’s red tape.

Recently, I introduced a resolution in the House to block the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule, or WOTUS. Though the Clean Water Act passed by Congress in 1972 intentionally limited EPA’s jurisdiction to navigable waters, the Obama administration is now trying to unilaterally expand its jurisdiction to regulate everything from ditches to prairie potholes, even on private land.

Not only would the Waters of the U.S. rule impact farmers and landowners, but it would also impede the ability of local governments to make decisions for their communities. When the EPA finalized the Waters of the U.S. rule, the agency claimed: “The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) are more precisely defined and predictably determined, making permitting less costly, easier, and faster for businesses and industry.” I have never seen onerous red tape from government agencies make processes easier for businesses and industry.

Earlier this year, I met with Chadron city officials whose work to clean and widen a drainage ditch was blocked for 18 months by the Army Corps of Engineers because the ditch was determined to be a U.S. waterway. If the Waters of the U.S. rule is implemented, this is a sign of things to come for cities throughout Nebraska.

My resolution would block the Waters of the U.S. rule under an expedited process created by the Congressional Review Act, or CRA. The CRA provides a mechanism for Congress to overturn executive rulemaking, including expedited Senate consideration of legislation to block newly finalized rules.

While the administration continues to defy Congress and the American people by pushing forward with damaging regulations, we must use every tool available to combat EPA overreach.

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