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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy confers with Sen. James Inhofe before the start of a hearing Jan. 16, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy confers with Sen. James Inhofe before the start of a hearing Jan. 16, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)  

Inhofe seeks to force the EPA to report the costs of its rules

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe introduced a bill to force the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce its own rules and report the costs of agency regulations.

Inhofe’s bill would prevent the EPA from issuing any new major rules until it follows the law and starts reporting economic costs.

“Americans are not as aware of the costs that have come from the regulations of this administration,” Inhofe told reporters on a conference call. “[They're] essentially putting people out of business.”

The Clean Air Act (CAA) already requires the EPA to report the impact of its regulations across the economy, but the Obama administration has failed to enforce this part of the law. Inhofe aims to force EPA to enforce CAA Section 321(a) and report the costs of its rules.

“This would put teeth in Section 321(a),” Inhofe said.

Inhofe cited several examples of how the Obama administration has pushed through costly regulations without considering the costs to the whole economy. One such rule was the Utility MACT, which the EPA said would create 46,000 temporary jobs and 8,000 permanent jobs.

But an analysis by the consulting firm National Economic Research Associates (NERA) found that the whole economy would suffer, losing up to 215,000 in 2014 and up to 85,000 jobs each year after.

The Obama administration has also been called out by Inhofe for delaying major regulations for political reasons. The administration held the costly Boiler MACT rule until after the 2012 elections when it was supposed to be out before then, according to Inhofe.

The Obama EPA has also delayed the controversial carbon dioxide emissions limits for new power plants. The rule was supposed to be published soon after it was announced in September 2013, but wasn’t published in the Federal Register until January 2014. The rule will now likely be finalized after the 2014 elections.

Inhofe’s bill has 29 additional cosponsors, all Republican with no Democrats. He expects to garner more Republican support, but is pessimistic that many (or any) Democrats will sign onto the bill due to the power of their environmentalist donors. Specifically, San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer who pledged to raise $100 million to fund climate issues and candidates in the 2014 elections.

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats took to the Senate floor in an all-night talkathon about the negative impact of global warming.

“A lot of the Democrats are very, very hesitant of offending … Steyer who is going to put together $100 million,” Inhofe said.

Inhofe has long been fighting against excessive EPA regulations and has been labeled a global warming “denier” by his opponents. Inhofe made his name opposing congressional efforts to pass cap-and-trade in 2009 and 2010, arguing that such a system would be costly and do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“They will go to countries like China where they don’t have any restrictions and it will have the effect of increasing, not decreasing emissions,” Inhofe said.

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