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Industry Groups Call for Delay of EPA Stationary Source Rules

The American Chemistry Council yesterday joined 16 other organizations in calling for a delay of new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.  In letters to key members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, ACC and organizations representing a broad cross-section of the American economy urged Senators delay the rule, before they go into recess.

“If EPA is allowed to impose these new rules, it could slam the brakes on our economic recovery,” said Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council in a prepared release.  “This will force the postponement of planned investments in new industrial facilities, meaning fewer jobs will be created and existing jobs will be lost. We simply can’t afford this right now.”

The letters urge the Committee to delay the EPA action by inserting language into the Continuing Resolution to be considered later this week.  This will give Congress time to thoughtfully consider greenhouse gas reductions when it returns to session.

But a coalition of 18 national public health organizations lead by the American Public Health Association, American Medical Association and American Lung Association urged Congress Tuesday to allow the EPA to move ahead with its new rules for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, USA Today reports.

“We urge you to fully support the EPA in fulfilling its responsibilities,” they said in a joint letter, arguing its regulations are paramount to the health of “children, older adults, those with serious health conditions and the most economically disadvantaged.”

EPA’s stationary source rules, which would require cuts in emissions from factories, coal mines, power plants and other facilities beginning in January, have run into fierce opposition. Earlier this month, Texas asked a federal court to block the new regulations as did a separate lawsuit by an industry coalition led by the National Association of Manufacturers, which argued the rules would cost “hundreds of millions of dollars in administrative costs and delays.”

But public health groups are claiming global warming is a dire public health threat. “The challenges we face as a result of global climate change are unprecedented in human history,” Nancy Hughes, director of the American Nurse Association’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health told USA Today. She said health providers already see more “heat-related illnesses; accidents and injuries from extreme weather events…and a rise in environmentally linked illnesses such as West Nile and dengue fever.”

Industry opposition has not been limited to EPA’s new stationary source rules, however. A group of 18 Senate Democrats have joined Republicans in asking EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to scale back the agency’s plans to regulate air emissions from boilers, the New York Times reports.

The 41 senators opposing the “Boiler MACT” Rule, which would require operators of  approximately 200,000 boilers to install maximum achievable control technology (MACT) for toxic air pollutants such as mercury, say the rule would be too costly to implement during an economic downturn.

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