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Letter


Co-sponsor Efforts to Keep the EPA from “Endangering” Taxpayers:
An Open Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives

March 15, 2010

Dear Representative:

            On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to support efforts to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from exercising its self-proclaimed prerogative to regulate carbon dioxide and other gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. H.J. Res. 77, introduced by Representatives John Boehner and Joe Barton, and H.R. 391, introduced by Representative Marsha Blackburn, would essentially veto the EPA's "endangerment" finding issued last December – a sweeping claim of authority based on the assertion that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare. We also recognize the substantial concern about this issue on both sides of the aisle, as evidenced by provisions of H.R. 4572 (sponsored by Rep. Ike Skelton) that would limit the EPA's ability to brand certain gases as pollutants solely by their reputed impact on global climate change.

            While the expansion of government control stemming from this controversial finding is troubling, we are most concerned about the new regulatory costs that will be heaped upon American business owners and workers. The burden from this de facto tax hike would be significant. In fact, EPA's own cost estimates demonstrate that permitting costs for industrial facilities impacted by the original endangerment finding would amount to $46,000 per facility. Additionally, the EPA put the average cost to obtain a permit for a new commercial or multi-family residential facility at $5,000 per entity.[1]

            The EPA has attempted to protect smaller entities through the Tailoring Rule, but the legally tenuous nature of the entire process makes it probable that, in time, the proposed pollution control dictates would slam office buildings, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, churches, farms, and other small businesses as they are forced to dish out hundreds of billions of dollars in paperwork to meet the new requirements. We fear the Tailoring Rule is nothing more than a political shield used by those seeking to advance their self-serving agendas.

            In 2009, the House passed its version of cap-and-trade legislation by an extremely narrow margin. The closeness of this vote clearly demonstrated that many of your colleagues as well as your constituents are expressing a desire for more thoughtful and transparent deliberation of the consequences surrounding cap-and-trade. In our opinion, these developments also constitute a repudiation of imposing a similar regime such as the EPA's endangerment finding.

             NTU commends Representatives Boehner, Barton, and Blackburn for taking action to block this substantial regulatory edict. Any roll call votes on these pieces of legislation will be heavily weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.

                                        Sincerely,

                                        Jordan Forbes
                                        Federal Government Affairs Manager



[1] Linda M. Chappell, Ph. D. and Larry Sorrels, "Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Proposed Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, page 15 (September 2009).  Online at: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480a2a67d.