The Environmental Protection Agency has said new greenhouse gas regulations, as proposed, may be “absurd” in application and “impossible to administer” by its self-imposed 2016 deadline. But the agency is still asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats — at a cost of $21 billion — to attempt to implement the rules.
The EPA aims to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act, even though the law doesn’t give the EPA explicit power to do so. The agency’s authority to move forward is being challenged in court by petitioners who argue that such a decision should be left for Congress to make.
The proposed regulations would set greenhouse gas emission thresholds above which businesses must file for an EPA permit and complete extra paperwork in order to continue operating. If the EPA wins its court battle and fully rolls out the greenhouse gas regulations, the number of businesses forced into this regulatory regime would grow tremendously — from approximately 14,000 now to as many as 6.1 million.
These new regulatory efforts are not likely to succeed, the EPA admits, but it has decided to move forward regardless. “While EPA acknowledges that come 2016, the administrative burdens may still be so great that compliance … may still be absurd or impossible to administer at that time, that does not mean that the Agency is not moving toward the statutory thresholds,” the EPA wrote in a September 16 court briefing.
The EPA is asking taxpayers to fund up to 230,000 new government workers to process all the extra paperwork, at an estimated cost of $21 billion. That cost does not include the economic impact of the regulations themselves.
“Hiring the 230,000 full-time employees necessary to produce the 1.4 billion work hours required to address the actual increase in permitting functions would result in an increase in Title V administration costs of $21 billion per year,” the EPA wrote in the court brief.
The petitioner suing the EPA is the Coalition for Responsible Regulation, a trade group reportedly linked to domestic chemical companies.