Federal Court Forces EPA to Enforce Rules Agency Believes Are Faulty

President Obama’s EPA usually has a bad habit of kicking American industry when it’s down by dumping on them with unnecessary regulations, regardless of what business leaders say the effects will be.

Usually. Which is why the latest fiasco over the Agency’s proposed Boiler MACT rule is so noteworthy.

After writing new rules in mid-2011 that would require electricity-generating boilers to meet a shockingly high emissions standard – at a capital cost of $9.5 billion – a wide swath of industries, most notably the paper and wood business, pushed back. EPA was set to impose the rules anyway, risking hundreds of thousands of jobs, sky-high costs, and electrical production capacity.

Yet shockingly, EPA suddenly changed its mind in December, apparently having listened to the industries’ criticisms and deciding to stay any formal enactment of the proposed rules. EPA wanted more time to study the potential effects and revise the regulations.

But of course, the environmentalist left wouldn’t have that. From the PJ Tatler:

In December 2011, though, the EPA changed course and decided to delay implementing the rule. It actually appeared to be taking industry concerns into account, for once. The Sierra Club and others had filed suit to force the EPA to stick to its original timeline. The federal court in Washington, DC heard the case and sided with the Sierra Club in January. So now, the EPA is being forced by a judge to implement a rule that the EPA itself has acknowledged is problematic and requires more study.

The minute the EPA actually listens to industries’ concerns and decides it wants a more balanced approach, they get stuck with a federal court ruling requiring them to enforce the original rules they have already acknowledged are faulty.

Luckily, in order for sanity to prevail, Republicans are pushing legislation that will shield the EPA from the court’s ruling and give it the time it needs to draft new rules that lessen the burden on industry. The legislation, titled the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, has been bouncing around Congress. The House has already passed the bill as part of the payroll tax cut package passed in December. It’s the Senate’s turn now.

Even the EPA itself admits that too much is at stake.