- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The next month is a good time for Congressional Republicans to move beyond empty gestures to solve the job-killing and economy-slowing problem that is the Obama Environmental Protection Agency.

Since January, the EPA has been implementing its greenhouse-gas regulations and has advanced an entire suite of regulations intended to make it painfully expensive for utilities to continue burning coal for electricity generation.

Known as the “EPA train wreck,” the regulations will force utilities to further reduce emissions of conventional pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides and mercury even though the current emissions are not causing air-quality or public-health problems anywhere in America.

These rules are so oppressive that they’ve even frayed the alliance between radical environmentalists and labor. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers forecasts that 50,000 of its members and another 200,000 workers down the supply line will lose their jobs within three years.

That’s quite a toll for regulations that will bring no health or environmental benefits.

While some Congressional Republicans have waved their arms in hopes of stopping the oncoming Obama EPA steamroller, they have failed, even though the GOP-controlled House has ample power.

Sure, the House passed legislation to stop the EPA’s greenhouse-gas regulations, but because the GOP doesn’t control the Senate and the White House, this has been little more than a futility in the end.

It’s not too late, though. Republicans have two upcoming opportunities to fix the EPA’s wagon.

First, in the next week or so, the House will complete the EPA appropriations bill for 2012. President Obama has requested $8.79 billion for the agency, slightly more than the $8.7 billion it received for 2011.

Next, there are the debt-ceiling negotiations requiring some sort of deal between Congress and the White House by Aug. 2.

Republicans should use both opportunities to stop the EPA. There should be no money for an agency that has no consideration for jobs in its cost-benefit analyses - a shocking admission made by an EPA official during a congressional hearing in April.

At the very least, Republicans ought to be able to negotiate a timeout for the looming train-wreck of regulation. Remember that the House ultimately must approve any money spent by the EPA. If there is no EPA budget, there are no new EPA regulations.

Republicans can expect the Obama EPA and its allies to respond and retaliate by saying that no or a smaller EPA means permits needed by industry won’t be able to be approved or will be delayed.

The appropriate GOP response is to agree to adequately fund whatever permit-granting and job-creating functions occur at the EPA and to defund or stay its job-killing programs.

A key to any strategy for addressing the EPA problem is for congressional Republicans to lose their fear of the agency and its enviro-activist allies.

Story Continues →