Barrasso Questions EPA Air Official on Ozone Rule, Clean Power Plan


WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 30, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Janet McCabe about the Obama administration’s new ozone rule and final clean power plan. Assistant Administrator McCabe was testifying before today’s Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing on the economic implications of President Obama’s air agenda.

On Clean Power Plan and Double Counting Benefits:

“Ms. McCabe, I want to follow up on some lines of questioning that I had with you at the February 11th hearing, on the president’s Clean Power Plan before this committee.

“I had asked you about the EPA claiming co-benefits of reductions, sort of the double counting that I believe is going on at the EPA.

“I asked if EPA was double counting health benefits, because it sure seems that way to me—in terms of reduction in particulate matter since other EPA air rules claim the same reductions in particular matter claim the same health benefits.

“So my point was, you can only reduce the dust once and accrue the health benefits of that reduction once. Not over and over again to justify different rules.

“You stated that you were not double counting, and you say that we’re ‘careful in all our regulations to make sure that we don’t do this.’

“Yet when you take a look at the EPA’s own documents, you state that you are counting co-benefits of reducing the same PM 2.5 in other rules before 111d rule for existing power plants was even released.

“EPA stated in its Regulatory Impact Analysis for the proposed rule for existing power plants that ‘…it is possible the benefits estimated in this RIA (Regulatory Impact Analysis) may account for the same air quality improvements as estimated in the illustrative NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) RIAs.’

“The same air quality improvements, that’s what the EPA is saying, the same air quality improvements for previous regulatory impact analyzes are being counted again. To me that means double counting.

“So do you still stand by your testimony in front of this committee and reject your own agency’s statement about double counting the same co-benefits in reductions of air pollutants like the particulate matter?

“Well that’s not what the documentation said. To me, this sounds like Volkswagen accounting and I think government ought to be held to a much better standard than what we’re seeing coming from this agency and this administration.

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning McCabe on Clean Power Plan

On New Ozone Rule and Wyoming:

“According the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the EPA designated all of one of the counties in Wyoming, Sublette County, and portions of Lincoln and Sweetwater counties as ozone nonattainment areas in 2012.

“Judge Gary Moore, President of the National Association of Regional Councils testified at a June 3rd hearing that ‘Sublette County, Wyoming serves as an example of how the new standard,’ he’s referring to the new ozone standard, ‘could impact economic development activities.’

“And if the ozone standard is tightened further he says, Sublette County will likely be classified as fully in non-attainment with severe restrictions on industrial development, which will limit jobs in the community.

“So under your new ozone rule, it is likely that more counties in Wyoming, more counties around the country, will be in non-attainment, including the counties that have not yet achieved the previous level for ozone.

“So given the high costs in terms of jobs, regulatory burdens on struggling counties, the significant, detrimental health impacts to people who lose their jobs, chronically unemployed—under what rationale do you believe you should be moving the goal posts on counties that have not yet even met the current standard?

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning McCabe on New Ozone Rule

On EPA Giving States Same Access as Environmental Groups

“On the February 11th hearing, I asked you if the states had the same access to crafting the Clean Power Plan rules as the environmental groups do, given the headlines about the NRDC’s involvement in crafting your rules in the EPA.

“You stated, ‘I speak with states all the time. They have very good access.’

“Well you didn’t answer the question about the states getting the same or better access than the environmental groups.

“So states are going to disagree with you, and you say you talk to states all the time and they have access.

“Our own Department of Environmental Quality came and testified about what’s happening and he says, ‘In the air programs alone, there have been dozens of new rules in the regulation of air quality, therefore EPA relies heavily upon the states to carry out these initiatives. We are the ‘boots on the ground’ that ensures the nation’s priorities in cleaning up the air and protecting human health are achieved. But, state resources are being stretched ever more thin. As EPA continues to propose regulations at their current pace, they must consider the ability of states to meet this demand.’

“That doesn’t sound to me like states are getting heard in the process as you develop rules and work with the environmental extremist groups to develop those rules.”

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning McCabe


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