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The Daily Caller

Lawmakers look to slash EPA workforce by 15 percent

House lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to cut its workforce by 15 percent within three years. Republicans argue that the agency should have no problem cutting its workforce, since 95 percent of EPA employees were deemed “non essential” during the recent government shutdown.

The EPA MACT Act, introduced by Virginia Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith, aims to counter EPA overreach by reducing the agency’s more than 16,000-person workforce. According to Griffith, the agency’s workforce grew 107 percent from 1972 to 2011, while the total number of federal personnel shrank 15 percent — and EPA regulations cost the economy $353 billion.

“This is the time of year when folks make their Christmas lists, or lay out their hopes and aspirations for the new year,” Griffith said. “The overwhelming majority of citizens of the 9th District of Virginia would welcome the inclusion of the EPA MACT Act on their wish lists.”

“This bill would give a small measure of hope to those who face the prospects of the business they work for being shuttered and the loss of their jobs because of an overzealous EPA producing massive new unreasonable regulations,” Griffith added.

Virginia’s 9th Congressional District is in the state’s coal-producing region and would be adversely affected by EPA plans to effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

According to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, 315 coal-fired generators have been shut down or slated for retirement because of EPA regulations. Virginia alone has seen 16 coal generators retired due to EPA rules.

“Clearly, EPA regulators are waging a war on common sense, American manufacturers, jobs, and more,” Griffith added. “There are real businesses that have closed and real people who have lost their jobs as a result of unreasonable EPA actions. The American people need some relief without delay.”

During the government shutdown, the EPA furloughed all but 613 of its 16,205 workers — 96.15 percent of its staff. The agency came under heavy criticism for having a bloated staff in which only about 4 percent of its employees were deemed “essential.”

Coal country has been putting pressure on the EPA to scale back its planned limits on carbon dioxide emissions that would force the electric utilities to move away from burning coal. Griffith argues that while the EPA has issued some good regulations that protect public health, many recent regulations have gone too far.

“The EPA has been worrying over the ‘pollution’ emitted by cows (methane) for decades, and they have even deemed carbon dioxide as harmful!” Griffith said. “Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that all humans emit when exhaling. If you were to take their reasoning to an extreme, the EPA might one day claim to have the authority to regulate the number of children we can have. After all, new human beings will obviously emit the ‘harmful’ gas carbon dioxide when they start their first cry!”

“I’m not suggesting that the EPA is even thinking about doing that now, but former Chairman John Dingell – who wrote the Clean Air Act – has said that he never anticipated that the Clean Air Act would be used to regulate carbon dioxide,” Griffith added.

The EPA did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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