Key senators signal willingness to take action on EPA boiler rules in Congress

The senators offered to take action in Congress to give the agency more leeway in crafting the rules.

“We stand ready to assist you in finding a reasonable solution, one that allows EPA to craft new rules that are achievable and protective of public health without sacrificing economic recovery and manufacturing jobs,” the senators said in the letter.

Matt Dempsey, spokesman for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), told The Hill on Friday that the senators would not be able to take action until after next week’s recess, so the agency will still have to issue its final regulations on Monday.

But he said the letter shows that lawmakers “appreciate that the EPA is in a difficult spot” and are willing to help. Dempsey said lawmakers could craft legislation to change the timeline of the rule's implementation or make changes to the regulations.

So far, Jackson has stressed that she does not need lawmakers’ help. Asked by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) earlier this month if she would like Congress to work to push back the deadline for issuing the final regulations, Jackson said there was no need.

Industry groups and many lawmakers railed against draft boiler regulations issued by the EPA in April, arguing they were unrealistic. Amid the widespread industry opposition to the rules, the agency promised to issue “significantly different” final regulations.

The letter was signed by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Inhofe, Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).