Corporate America’s Public Enemy No. 1: The EPA

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On Monday, House oversight committee chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released more than 100 letters he has received from corporations, trade groups, and associations outlining the regulations they’d like to see changed. The letters make clear that the Environmental Protection Agency is corporate America’s top target.

Issa solicited solicited lists of burdensome regs from the business community last month, and the early responses focused largely on environmental rules businesses would like to see axed. The Wall Street Journal got an early look a the letters, with includes dozens of gripes about the EPA’s current and proposed rules from 30 different organizations:

Groups complained about dozens of other proposed and existing EPA regulations in letters viewed by the Journal, including the agency’s plans to tighten limits on emissions of some pollutants from industrial boilers, ground-level ozone, mountain-top mining, cooling water intake structures, the level of nutrients in Florida waters, and pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay.

In all, Issa’s office released 1,947 pages of letters. Here’s a sample from William Kovacs, vice president of environment, technology and regulatory affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, critiquing the overall impact of environmental regulation, not just individual rules it takes issue with:

In recent years, EPA seems to have increased both the breadth and the burden of its regulation of the business community. For whatever reason, it has largely spent the last 24 months attempting to modify, re-issue, or re-interpret virtually every controversial environmental regulatory decision of the past decade.

“Whatever reason” happens to be that the Obama administration has been actually trying to set rules based on science and public health, unlike the previous administration. On the question of limits on ozone pollution, which the Chamber takes issue with, the administration has indicated that it intends to take the advice of its scientists, which was ignored under Bush. And on greenhouse gas emissions, another Chamber target, the EPA has simply moved forward under the direction of the Supreme Court, after the Bush administration chose to ignore its obligation on that front.

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