House Republicans Take Aim At Environmental Regulations As Debt Crisis Looms

Posted by erauch, July 26, 2011

With eight days until the country officially defaults on its debts, likely sparking a worldwide credit crisis, the House of Representatives is busy with legislation aimed at repealing environmental regulations and stymieing conservation efforts.

The Interior and Environmental Protection Agency spending bill for fiscal year 2012 contains policy riders added by panel Republicans to thwart White House-backed initiatives on everything from the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions to conservation efforts in the Grand Canyon. It would halt new regulations on mountaintop removal mining and prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service from listing new species under the Endangered Species Act.

Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior, said that one of the major underlying themes to this year’s work is the sheer volume of regulatory actions being pursued by agencies in the absence of legislation and without clear congressional direction.

“My intense opposition to the EPA’s efforts to control nearly every industry in this country is no secret,” said Simpson in remarks on the House floor Monday. “The EPA’s unrestrained effort to regulate greenhouse gases, and the pursuit of an overly aggressive regulatory agenda, are signs of an agency that has lost its bearing. Wherever I go, the biggest complaint I hear about the federal government is about how the EPA is creating economic uncertainty and killing jobs.”

But members of the House of Representatives Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition say that Congress should be focused on preventing a default crisis and on creating jobs, not crafting policy riders to rollback essential pollution controls and public health protections.

“This is a low mark for the 112th Congress that has already seen the GOP majority preserve giveaways to Big Oil and advance legislation to overturn common sense energy efficiency standards, slash clean energy innovation, and carve loopholes in important environmental statutes,” said a statement released Monday by the 48-member coalition.