Environmental rules oversight increase sought

04 18, 2013 by The Advocate

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy filed legislation Wednesday that would give Congress greater oversight of new environmental rules and regulations on industry.

Cassidy’s Energy Consumers Relief Act of 2013, which is expected to move relatively quickly in the GOP-controlled House, would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing any energy-related regulation that is considered to have an economic impact of at least $1 billion without additional congressional and Department of Energy approval.

The legislation that could weaken the EPA is not expected to gain much momentum in the Democratic-controlled Senate, if it passes the House.

The legislation could impact rules proposed in the future that are intended to improve air and water quality safety and more.

“The EPA’s power to regulate is also the power to destroy,” said Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, in his announcement. “In Louisiana, we know you must be pro-business to be pro-environment and you must be pro-environment to be pro-business … It makes no sense for the EPA to issue burdensome regulations that will hurt our energy economy and cost American families thousands of jobs.”

The bill would require that if a proposed regulation is considered to cost at least $1 billion in eventual compliance costs, then the EPA must submit a report to Congress detailing certain cost, energy price and job impacts.

The energy secretary also would have to make additional energy and economic determinations about the rule and it would be defeated if the energy secretary decides it would negatively impact the economy.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., are backing the legislation. The two chairmen are expected to help move the legislation through their committees and to the House floor.

“Dr. Cassidy has introduced commonsense legislation that will protect consumers against higher energy prices by providing greater transparency for EPA’s billion-dollar, energy-related rules,” Upton and Whitfield said in a joint statement.