The Environmental Protection Agency is not considering small business concerns as it moves forward with climate-control regulation changes, the chairman of a House panel claimed Thursday, accusing the agency of violating federal regulations concerning the private sector.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires federal agencies such as the EPA to consider the effects of new regulations on the private sector through small business review panels, reports The Hill
"Unfortunately, compliance with RFA has too often been the exception rather than the rule, and few agencies have done a worse job in meeting their RFA obligations to small businesses than the EPA," said Rep. Scott Tipton, a Colorado Republican, who chairs the House Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade.
Tipton and other panel members said the EPA declined the group's invitation to discuss the matter at a hearing on Thursday. Tipton said that agency officials should have come and said on the record if it "feels it is justified in pursuing rule-making without seeking advanced small business input."
A panel of small business owners and others attending the hearing said regulations limiting emissions from new and existing power plants will be devastating to the industry.
Michael Kezar, general manager of the San Miguel Cooperative Inc., said one of the company's coal plants in Texas will be forced to close if proposed rules are approved, because the plant will not be able to meet federal requirements.
The committee's lone Democratic member participating, Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida, claimed the regulations and President Barack Obama's push to reduce pollution
will save lives and spur growth in renewable energy, but conceded that small firms may end up facing higher energy bills.
Bernard Weinstein, the associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University, told the panel that despite the regulations, the United States will still likely rely on coal for some time. However, he agreed that the EPA is "pretty much ignoring" the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
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