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EPA has too much authority

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has greatly expanded its authority over our economy since 2009, resulting in an increase in regulations that add to an uncertain business climate and chill investment in critical sectors. As Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee and member of the Environment Subcommittee on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, I have made it my priority to rein in the EPA from promulgating rules and regulations that impede our industry’s competitiveness and ultimately hurt hard-working Americans.

The Obama Administration is aggressively pursuing new and expansive environmental regulations over every area of the U.S. economy. A pillar of this agenda has been the President’s Climate Action Plan of June 2013, and EPA regulations to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new and existing power plants. This agenda would mean increased transmission costs for energy, closed power plants, and ultimately higher prices for consumers. Texas’s compliance costs for just one GHG emissions rule would lead the nation at $812 billion. To provide perspective, our state’s total economic output is $1.5 trillion per year.

Last March, the EPA proposed a new regulation to expand the definition of “Waters of the United States”, to include anything linking to a major body of water, including ditches. EPA’s action would dramatically expand the scope of environmental laws creating more red tape and uncertainty for landowners. It will increase the risk of enforcement action against Texas farmers and ranchers who work hard every day to feed the world and care for our nation’s limited resources. To stop this overreach, I am an original co-sponsor of H.R. 594, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, which would stop this regulation in its tracks.

The costliest regulation the EPA has pursued thus far is its proposal to reduce ozone, a natural and man-made gas. This proposal would put nearly the entire country – including Yosemite National Park –  out of compliance and raise costs for job creators across Texas. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, this regulation would increase energy costs for Texas families and reduce family incomes in an amount equal to 347,000 lost jobs to our state. Last October, I introduced the Clear the Air with Congress Act (H.R. 5665). This legislation would require the EPA report to Congress on the impact of any new ozone regulations, as well as the data used to reach its conclusions, before regulations are proposed. The legislation is a simple and straightforward message to the EPA that government bureaucrats cannot propose costly new regulations without any accountability from the American people.

The EPA must be held accountable as it proposes standards that negatively impact livelihoods and are impossible to achieve. We cannot accept the status quo of little or no economic growth. Congress must assert its oversight role and rein in executive authority run amok with bureaucratic rules and red-tape, ultimately hindering our job creators, economic growth and hard-working families.

Congressman Randy Weber represents the 14th District of Texas, serving Brazoria, Galveston and Jefferson Counties.