EPA prepared to unleash slew of environmental regulations

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The Obama administration has quietly released its new regulatory agenda, which includes new environmental regulations targeting everything from carbon dioxide emissions to pollution run-off from military ships.

President Barack Obama recently announced his new plan to tackle global warming, which included capping carbon emissions from new and existing power plants. The administration’s regulatory agenda states that the Environmental Protection Agency will propose rules for new power plants this September, after missing a deadline earlier this year.

According to the agenda, the EPA will issue rules regarding emissions from existing plants in June 2014. The new power plant regulations have come under fire from lawmakers for putting a huge burden on the coal industry.

“The regulations the president wants to force on coal are not feasible. And if it’s not feasible, it’s not reasonable,” said West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

The agency isn’t stopping at power plant emissions, as more regulations are planned for other areas as, including pollution from military ships and emissions from landfills.

“Given the size and impact of environmental regulations, it is really important to make sure that we get them right, that they are high quality,” Sherzod Abdukadirov, a research fellow at the libertarian Mercatus Center, told the Hill.

The EPA wants to regulate pollution run-off from military ships from sources such as photography labs, runoff from rain and seawater, and from foam used to put-out fires. The agency also plans to finalize a rule on landfill emissions next July — two months later than it is legally required to, reports the Hill.

The agency is also expected to propose a rule regarding landfill emissions later this month and produce a final rule next June.

Other rules may follow, possibly including regulations for grain elevators and car air conditioners.

While some have criticized the Obama administration for over-regulating, in particularly on environmental issues, others have said the administration’s recent regulatory agenda shows that it is moving slowly with implementing new regulations.

James Goodwin, a policy analyst with the Center for Progressive Reform, told the Hill that he sees a “kind of a regulatory drought — rules constantly being delayed, delayed, delayed. … If you read it honestly, the regulatory agenda, that’s what I get from it every time it comes out.”

For example, the agency has made little progress on regulations on rules regarding ash from coal power plants, which it has been working on since 2007.

“It seems like that rule is not going anywhere fast,” Goodman said.

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