Capito: EPA's 'extreme agenda,' regulations are killing jobs


WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, co-founder of the Congressional Coal Caucus, says the federal Environmental Protection Agency's "extreme agenda" and regulations are destroying jobs.

The West Virginia Congresswoman authored an op-ed in Roll Call Tuesday.

"It's disappointing that the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency continue to enforce a 'my way or the highway' approach to environmental regulations," she wrote.

"For decades, the EPA has successfully cleaned up our air and streams without slowing down the economy. Now, at the worst possible time, the EPA is advancing an extreme agenda that threatens millions of jobs across America."

In her own op-ed last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson blamed Republicans for job losses.

"Contrary to what Jackson claims, regulations are destroying jobs," wrote Capito, a Republican herself.

She pointed to a report by the National Economic Research Associates, which estimates four major regulations affecting coal-fueled power plants will destroy on average 183,000 jobs annually and cause electricity prices to increase in many parts of the country.

"While Jackson stays in Washington, D.C., meeting with environmentalists, I meet with coal miners, factory workers and business leaders who worry that their next stop will be the unemployment line," Capito wrote.

"Americans from West Virginia to Wyoming should not have to choose between fresh air and a job -- we can keep our environment clean without extreme regulations with unachievable compliance dates."

Capito said the GOP simply wants the EPA to meet them halfway.

"Republicans are fighting for an all-of-the-above energy solution that balances our expanding energy needs with our desire for environmental conservation," she wrote.

She said she supports investing in technologies to make the use of coal cleaner, including carbon sequestration and the use of clean coal-to-liquids technology.

Capito, in her op-ed, also took aim at Jackson's accusations that Republicans are trying to undermine the agency through legislative efforts.

While she admitted to getting an amendment passed by the House mandating the EPA consider jobs and economic activity when making its decisions, Capito noted that the measure doesn't force the agency to make one decision or another.

"It simply says we need to take a hard look at both the environmental and economic consequences of agency actions," she wrote.

"Jackson may see this as usurping her power, but I see it as common sense."

Earlier this month, the attorneys general of 25 states and Guam filed an amicus brief urging the EPA to delay the implementation of new emissions regulations.

The agency's proposed Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rule would create a new federal regulation to address the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from oil-fired and coal power plants.

The proposed rule may require the installation of new control technologies to meet the limits mandated by the EPA, and power plants unable to meet the new limits may be forced to shut down.

The attorneys general, in their brief, asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to delay the regulations by one year to Nov. 16, 2012 to protect and preserve jobs and affordable electricity rates.

The 25 states that that filed the amicus brief include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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