Politics

Calls for more regulatory restraint come after Obama halts EPA ozone plan

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter

Now that President Barack Obama has stopped Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson from continuing with her plan to tighten ozone regulations, it’s unclear if the politically embattled chief executive will halt additional administrative rules.

In his letter to Jackson, Obama’s regulatory czar Cass Sunstein said the president directed him to “minimize regulatory costs and burdens” in all agencies. Republican leaders and industry groups are jumped on that promise Friday, demanding new cutbacks on more of the regulatory burdens they say his administration has placed on the economy.

“I am glad that the President has finally recognized the job-killing potential of these EPA regulations,” House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in a statement, adding that he is “hopeful that the President will continue down this road of lifting excessive burdens so the economy can grow and we can get people back to work.”

House Energy and Commerce committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton said he hopes the president follows through more on his “sudden admission” on Friday that “ill-advised regulations” do actually hurt the economy.

“The avalanche of rulemakings Speaker Boehner detailed in his letter to the president last week highlights just how large the remaining regulatory threat looms, and we encourage the president to follow today’s action with similar steps to prevent EPA from shipping our jobs overseas,” Upton and his Power Subcommittee chairman Rep. Ed Whitfield said in a statement.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the National Association of Manufacturers and several other industry groups called on Obama to tell Jackson and other agency heads to pare back more regulations and stop burdening the economy. (RELATED: White House defends reversal on smog rule)

The EPA is considering a wide variety of other “maximum achievable control technology” regulations. MACT rules lower the accepted levels of pollution any regulated entity can emit into the environment. Some MACT standards affect coal power plants and others impact facilities with on-site boilers. Still others regulate cement plants.

Other regulations conservatives in Congress and industry groups are bashing include National Labor Relations Board rules, Labor Department proposals and regulations relating to the president’s health care overhaul.

It remains unclear, however, if President Obama will grant any anti-regulatory requests. Fred Wszolek of the Workforce Fairness Institute said he thinks the president is just shifting with the political tides and doesn’t really care about deregulating American industry.

“Today’s action by President Obama concerning smog standards demonstrates that this administration has the ability to voice concerns and stop harmful regulations when it chooses,” Wszolek said. “Therefore, it would only make sense for the White House to communicate clearly to the National Labor Relations Board, National Mediation Board and Department of Labor that they must cease their regulatory assault against American workers and small businesses.”

Institute for Energy Research senior vice president Dan Kish told The Daily Caller he thinks there were more nefarious intentions behind these ozone regulations. “It’s highly likely that this was a red herring from the beginning,” Kish said. “The administration never meant to implement this. It was extra credit and designed to draw attention and extra efforts away from the regulatory cascade the EPA has been throwing at businesses.”

“By dropping it, it gives the impression he cares about jobs, right before his jobs speech,” Kish adds. “Meanwhile, EPA continues its assault through all of its other regulations.”

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