Saturday, February 29, 2020

House Environment Subcommittee holds hearing on EPA’s Regional Haze Program

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s Environment Subcommittee recently held a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Regional Haze Program, including its potential impact and costs as well as the EPA’s regulatory authority to implement it.

“Unlike the other regulations promulgated under the Clean Air Act that this committee has examined, the Regional Haze rule is unique for two important reasons,” U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), chair of the Environment Subcommittee, said. “First, it is an aesthetic regulation, and not a public health regulation. These rules were designed primarily to ensure the public can clearly see the sights at National Parks and other natural landmarks. Second, Clean Air Act legislative history specifically gives individual states a unique degree of authority to be decision makers when implementing visibility improving policies.”

The EPA recently finalized 14 Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plans (FIPs) and has two more in the works, though some legislators, states and stakeholders insist that it should be a state-led initiative as Congress intended with the Regional Haze Rule.

“We cannot allow a federal agency to assume power that Congress has not given it. Contrary to the EPA’s agenda, Americans want to be free from overly burdensome regulations, not tied up in more,” U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who chairs the full committee, said. “In my home state of Texas, the EPA’s regional haze imposition would affect 14 power plans and cost more than $2 billion. This past Friday, the Attorney General of Texas requested a stay of this plan. EPA’s regulatory agenda is bad for the American economy and for the American people.”

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United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology

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