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Inhofe: EPA 'punting' regs until after election that 'spell doom' for jobs, economy

  • FILE: Feb. 28, 2012: Midwest Generation's Crawford Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, in Chicago.AP

  • FILE: Sept. Sept. 2, 2012: A woman and children at the East River, near the Manhattan Bridge, in New York. The EPA has control over most U.S. bodies of water.REUTERS

Republican Sen. James Inhofe says the Environmental Protection Agency has delayed action or “punted” on numerous regulations while President Obama tries to “earn votes” for a second term.

The Oklahoma senator and ranking Republican on the chamber’s Committee on Environment and Public Works has released a report stating that when the agency approves the roughly one dozen regulations next year in 2013, they will “spell doom” for jobs and economic growth.

“The Obama-EPA plans to move full speed ahead to implement this agenda if President Obama wins a second term,” Inhofe writes. “These rules taken together will inevitably result in the elimination of millions of American jobs, drive up the price of gas at the pump even more, impose construction bans on local communities and essentially shut down American oil, natural gas and coal production.”

The 14-page report cites pending regulations on a wide range of environmental-economic issues including those on power plant emissions and hydraulic fracturing.

The report concluded that pending overall regulations on greenhouse gases if enacted would cost $300 billion to $400 billion annual and significantly increase the price of gasoline and home heating.

“The requirements are so strict they virtually eliminate coal as a fuel option for future electric power generation,” the report states. “In a thinly veiled political move, the agency has put off finalizing the proposal until after the election.”

The EPA has long been a target of Republicans lawmakers and other fiscal conservative who think the agency has overstepped its authority.

The issue has re-emerged this election cycle with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Obama's campaign referred a request  for comment to the administration. But the campaign staffer said earlier this month the president has doubled fuel-efficiency standards so cars and trucks “will go farther on a gallon of gas, helped double our production of job-creating clean wind and solar energies and has championed an all-of-the-above American energy strategy."

He also argued the administration has opened millions of federal acres to oil and gas development, oil production is now at 14-year high, natural gas production is at an all-time high and the country is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in two decades – arguments Obama made in the Oct. 17 presidential debate.

The report also singles out pending federal regulations on such issues as farm dust, air quality, coal ash and water-quality in Florida.

The ozone standard if enacted would cost at least $90 billion annually and would eliminate 7.4 million jobs, the report states, citing federal analysis.

The report, citing published news reports, states the Obama administration several years ago agreed to set “first-ever” federal limits on runoff in Florida, but environmental groups are still waiting for a final decision as the state is “expected to play a critical role in the outcome” of the election.

The EPA-proposed new guidance documents for waters covered by the Clean Water Act, in April 2011, reinterprets recent Supreme Court decisions to allow the agency to expand federal control over virtually every body of water in the United States, no matter how small, the report also concludes.

As far back as last December, Fox News revealed that the EPA was pondering a change to how it analyzes problems and makes decisions, in a way that would also give it vastly expanded power to regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of “sustainable development.”

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