New EPA Rules Hit Our Economy While it's Down (Rep. Jo Ann Emerson)

The recently proposed rule by EPA mandating the measurement of greenhouse gases would place a tremendous regulatory burden on employers in Southern Missouri and across the nation during a difficult time in our economy.  Compliance with this new rule will be costly for them.  Even worse, it is an obvious precursor to fines for American businesses who do not accurately account for their greenhouse gas emissions and taxes for those who do. Every American business which relies on an oven, product packaging, or a delivery vehicle ought to be concerned about what this rule will demand from them.

The FY 2010 budget submitted to Congress in April contains an outline for a $646 billion tax based on the measurement of the gases subject to the proposed EPA rule.  If you switch on the lights in your home or turn the key in your car, you will be bearing the cost of these new taxes.  It sets a dangerous precedent in rural communities where our lives and our economy are energy intensive.

While some entities are already required to report emissions to the EPA, the expansion of this reporting will be used to formulate a policy that will hurt American businesses. The EPA will continue to push for expansion of emissions reporting requirements until it has all the necessary data it needs to form a carbon tax mechanism.  Any efforts to establish such a tax would impose an undue hardship on the nation by increasing overall energy costs.  While this greenhouse gas inventory is only intended to address 10% of businesses in the United States, the program this data is intended to support will result in higher energy costs which will ripple through the entire U.S. economy.

Yesterday, even the White House acknowledged that this rule will have a significant effect on American businesses.  I hope the final EPA rule finds a way to limit compliance to a voluntary basis, to exempt small- and medium-size employers, or both.  These changes would enable American businesses to continue to choose the best course of action to curb emissions and to use the money planned for compliance with the rule to instead employ technologies that will reduce emissions.  Still, the best option is to abandon this rule in order to preserve American competitiveness and jobs during one exceptionally difficult financial chapter in our nation’s long history of innovation and prosperity.