Barton, Burgess Ask Administration to Detail Costs of NEPA Rule to Jobs, Economy

Barton, Burgess Ask Administration to Detail Costs of NEPA Rule to Jobs, Economy

March 8, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Michael Burgess, R-Texas, today wrote to Nancy Sutley, the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, asking her to square President Obama’s statement that “jobs must be our No. 1 focus in 2010” with the expansion of a wide range of global warming and other environmental regulations that will cumulatively impose billions of dollars in costs on U.S. business and consumers.

Of chief concern to the lawmakers are the potential economic and job impacts of the “Draft NEPA Guidance on Consideration of the Effects of Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” which appears to erect more regulatory barriers to new infrastructure.

“The NEPA process is already extraordinarily time consuming and expensive, and the NEPA related costs for new infrastructure and other large proposed projects can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars and take years to complete,” said Barton and Burgess, ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, respectively. “Given the evolving, complex, controversial, uncertain, and global nature of climate science, we have significant concerns that layering more analyses and requirements contemplated in the draft guidance will further delay the NEPA process, increase overall permitting and project costs, lead to protracted litigation, and adversely impact new energy and other infrastructure development in the United States.”

The lawmakers asked Sutley to respond to the following questions:

1.    Please identify each of the federal departments and agencies that would be subject to the draft guidance if it is finalized by the administration.

2.    In developing the draft guidance, has CEQ analyzed the amount of time that implementation of the guidelines may add to the NEPA process, the increased government resources that would be required, the additional staff required, and/or the additional costs to the taxpayer or the regulated community? If yes, please provide copies of any documents reflecting such analyses.

3.    In developing the draft guidance, has CEQ analyzed the potential litigation that may result from implementing the guidance? If yes, please provide copies of any documents reflecting such analyses.

4.    Has CEQ analyzed the impacts of the draft guidance for the U.S. energy sector? If yes, please provide copies of any documents reflecting such analyses.

5.    Does CEQ anticipate issuing specific NEPA guidance applicable to “land and resource management actions”?

6.    In developing the draft guidance, did CEQ consult with any nongovernmental entities?

7.    Since January 2009, has CEQ prepared its own analyses of the potential economic or job impacts that may result from implementation of any of the administration’s proposed global warming environmental regulations, policies, or initiatives? If yes, please provide copies of all such analyses.

8.    Since January 2009, has CEQ received any analyses from other offices within the Executive Office of the President, federal agencies, and/or nongovernmental entities, of economic or job impacts that may result from implementation of any administration’s proposed global warming environmental policies, regulations or initiatives? If yes, please provide copies of all such analyses in CEQ’s possession.

9.    Since January 2009, has CEQ taken any actions to expedite the NEPA process in order to promote economic growth and new job creation? If yes, please describe and provide copies of documents relating to such actions.

10.    Since January 2009, has the administration taken any actions to ensure that economic and job impacts are considered and evaluated before the administration promulgates new environmental regulations?

The letter can be found here.

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Filed under Climate Change, Conservatives, Economics, EPA, United States of America

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