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U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the press as he departs the White House, in Washington, November 24, 2013, for a 3-day swing trip to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he will attend Democratic Party functions and make remarks at an immigration event. REUTERS/Mike Theiler U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the press as he departs the White House, in Washington, November 24, 2013, for a 3-day swing trip to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he will attend Democratic Party functions and make remarks at an immigration event. REUTERS/Mike Theiler  

Vitter: Prepare for the Obama’s ‘regulatory onslaught’

Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter said that while most Americans were dining on their Thanksgiving turkey, the Obama administration was cooking up a regulatory stew of its own.

“While most of America was enjoying their turkey and stuffing, the administration was stuffing our economy with burdensome and expensive regulations,” Vitter said.

Last week, the Obama administration revealed its Unified Regulatory Agenda for the fall of 2013. It included 134 pending regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency alone. The EPA is working to finalize rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, lower sulfur emissions from fuels, set ambient air quality standards, expand its regulatory authority over waterways and much more.

“These new rules listed in the Unified Agenda will have a substantial impact on the future of this country’s energy production and independence,” said Vitter. “At this point, the federal government should be doing everything it possibly can to encourage and support economic growth, especially in the industries that have proven to be successful – instead they’re slapping a mountain of new rules and regulations on our job creators.”

Republicans have become increasingly critical of the Obama administration’s timing in how the regulatory agenda was released. In January, Vitter sent a letter to former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson asking why the agency had opted to release its agenda six months after it was scheduled to — a suspicious move during an election year.

Federal law requires that agencies release their regulatory agenda biannually, in the spring and again in the fall. The EPA said it would issue its 2012 spring agenda last  April or May, but the agenda was not published by the White House regulatory affairs office until late December of that year.

This year’s fall agenda includes contentious carbon dioxide regulations that effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they use carbon-capture and control technology. The coal industry says such technology is not commercially proven, meaning that no new coal plants will be built until the technology becomes economical.

Ahead of her trip to China, current EPA administrator Gina McCarthy expressed excitement about the pending regulations on new and existing coal plants. She said that the agency has engaged in the most comprehensive outreach program “that you can imagine” in hearing from stakeholders on pending coal regulations.

The coal industry lambasted McCarthy as the EPA held no field hearings in coal country — the region that would be hardest hit by the emissions limits.

“Ms. McCarthy’s assertion that EPA’s recent listening session tour was ‘vigorous, robust and comprehensive’ could only be seen through her rose-colored glasses, as her agency failed to solicit input from those stakeholders who stand to lose the most,” said Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

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