Senate Critique Of EPA Rules Could Signal Congressional Action

Date: April 29, 2016

Senate Hearing Sees Lawmaker Questioning Agency’s Regulatory Process

The EPA’s regulatory process has come under increasing scrutiny. During a recent hearing of the Senate Appropriations committee’s subcommittee on the interior, environment, and related agencies, chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was critical of the EPA’s rules, “indicating lawmakers may consider targeting them in spending bills for the agency this year,” The Hill reports. The Hill suggests that Murkowski was particularly critical of the EPA’s clean water rule, as well as proposed methane regulations and a request for funding in order to implement a rule on climate change. She said, “There is a concern that rather than focusing on its core mission of attending to and cleaning up the environment, the agency is pumping out rule after rule that are based on questionable legal authority.” The Hill also points out that Republicans have been critical of EPA rules such as the Clean Power Plan. President Obama has requested $235 million in the 2017 budget for that plan, and Murkowski was critical of that request during the hearing.

What Happens Next

The Hill points out that so far, neither the House nor Senate have released spending bills for the EPA. Last year Republicans in both the House and Senate hoped to block agency rules with spending measures, but in their year-end spending agreement decided not to do so. This leaves the timing and contentiousness of this year’s EPA spending measures uncertain.

What This Means For Small Businesses

The EPA has been aggressive with its regulatory agenda, and small businesses have paid the price. Questioning the EPA’s rulemaking process is a first step in potentially putting a halt to the agency’s tendency towards over-reach. Whether Congress has the will during an election year to create meaningful legislation to improve the regulatory landscape for small businesses remains to be seen.

Additional Reading

AgriPulse also covered the subcommittee hearing.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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