Stearns, ahead of hearing, wonders if White House reg reform is ‘real’

Stearns said lawmakers will ask for specifics on what rules may be softened and areas where more regulations are expected.

“We just want to see the credibility of what the administration is doing versus what they are saying,” Stearns said. 

President Obama issued an executive order last week that says federal agencies, when crafting rules, must protect the environment, public health and safety while “promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.” It notes that they must use the “least burdensome” tools for achieving their goals.

The order also demands that agencies conduct “retrospective analyses” of existing rules that may be outmoded or too burdensome, and “modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.”

Many House Republicans and industry groups are opposing several Environmental Protection Agency rules, including proposals to curb greenhouse gas emissions and reduce hazardous emissions from industrial boilers. Manufacturers last week cited the new White House initiative in attacking EPA rules.

Stearns also said he met with Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.), the top Democrat on the subcommittee, on Tuesday morning to discuss the panel’s agenda for the year. He said one possibility would be hearings on the BP oil spill, noting they may seek to “understand the damage” and probe whether Gulf residents are being compensated.