House Republicans raise specter of congressional action on EPA boiler rules

“At a time when we are enduring 21 consecutive months of 9 percent or higher unemployment, we cannot afford to rush sweeping regulations that have the potential to do more harm than good,” Upton said in a statement.

EPA released the final industrial boiler and incinerator regulations Wednesday. Though the agency asked for an extra 15 months to issue the rules, a federal judge gave EPA only 30 days.

The agency, as part of President Obama’s executive order requiring federal agencies to review their regulations, made its final rules more cost-effective. The agency said Wednesday the final regulations cost 50 percent less to implement than the proposed rules, which industry decried as unrealistic.

But Upton said he lacked confidence in the regulations because the agency was under such a tight deadline to issue them.

“How can anyone have confidence in rules that the EPA was admittedly unprepared to issue just weeks ago?” Upton said, adding later, “The EPA was operating under court order to meet this week’s deadline, but we continue to believe sound policymaking should trump arbitrary timelines.”

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, EPA air chief Gina McCarthy said the agency was pleased with the final boiler rules, and stressed that the deadline did not affect the quality of the regulations.

It’s not the first time Upton has raised the possibility of taking action in Congress to alter the boiler rules. At a hearing earlier this month, Upton asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson if she wanted lawmakers to take action to give the agency more time to issue the regulations. Jackson declined the offer.

Upton’s comments come as a bipartisan group of lawmakers offered late last week to “assist” the EPA in finding a “reasonable solution” in Congress to the emissions like mercury that are emitted by industrial boilers and incinerators.