EPA Regulatory Relief Act
It’s about jobs. Jobs are the number one issue in the 9th District, and the number one issue nationwide. This past week, I introduced H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011. In March, the EPA finalized a series of rules, commonly known as the Boiler MACT rules, which raised serious concerns within a number of industries due to the high costs and a short compliance time. The EPA’s rules would apply to a variety of facilities, including manufacturers, colleges and universities, and hospitals. Exceptionally high compliance costs threaten to jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs. According to the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners, capital costs of the rules are estimated to exceed $14 billion and potentially put more than 200,000 jobs at risk.
The goal of the EPA Regulatory Relief Act is straightforward – give the EPA the time they need to get the rules right while protecting jobs. This legislation requires the EPA to set achievable and workable standards for boilers, process heaters, and incinerators and allows time for compliance. The EPA would be granted at least 15 months to re-propose and finalize new rules. Compliance deadlines would be extended from three years to at least five years, giving facilities more time to make the necessary investments and changes.
No matter where you’re from or what political party you support, everyone wants jobs. Four Democrats and three other Republicans, all who serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, joined me as original cosponsors of H.R. 2250. Losing more American jobs due to onerous regulations is not an option we can afford. The EPA Regulatory Relief Act is a dose of commonsense for an ailing patient. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure this regulatory relief becomes law.
This past week, I was deeply disappointed by FEMA's denial of Governor McDonnell’s appeal for a major disaster declaration in Virginia. The destruction in Washington, Pulaski, and Smyth Counties was devastating and costly. While volunteers have come together to begin rebuilding, these losses continue to weigh greatly on the impacted communities. My continued prayers are with those who have suffered from this devastation, particularly those in the Glade Spring area who lost loved ones.
It was good to welcome folks from back home to Washington this week and recognize their achievements. I met with Dixie Hunter, Sandy Frederick, Katherine Wright, Stacey Kestner, and Cynthia Brewer from Damascus Middle School, which was named one of the “Schools to Watch” by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in 2011. Damascus Middle School is one of just 100 exemplary middle-grades schools around the country to receive this recognition. These educators, and others at Damascus Middle School, are going the extra mile to help our students in the Southwest Virginia succeed.
I also welcomed Jessalyn Mullins of Norton, the 9th District’s Congressional Art Competition winner, and her family to the nation’s capital. They attended the official unveiling of the art exhibit and a ceremony for the students. Her drawing, “Miner of the Ages,” now hangs in the U.S. Capitol, proudly representing the 9th District.
As always, if you have concerns or comments or wish to inquire about legislative issues, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.