Congress targets broad swath of EPA issues

The House and Senate are upping their game Wednesday in conducting broad oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency's contentious regulations, while examining ways to prevent some of its more horrendous flubs such as last summer's toxic spill in Colorado.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight will conduct a hearing to peer deeply into the agency's "Regulatory Impact Analyses," which form the basis and justification for many of the agency's regulations.

The environment committee has conducted a record number of hearings over the past year to drill down on many of the agency's most contentious rules: the Clean Power Plan and climate change regulations for power plants; the rules for smog-forming ozone, called the most expensive in history; and the Waters of the U.S. rule that makes ditches on private lands subject to EPA enforcement action.

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Many of the regulations are being litigated in federal courts and in some cases have been halted. The Senate committee wants to go further than reacting to the rules. It wants to understand the agency's basis for the rules to address the process by which the rules are created and, eventually, be able to stop regulations before they are proposed.

Wednesday will be used to take a look at the agency's regulatory analyses, and listen to expert testimony on the "shortcomings" that have become recurring themes in many of the regulations, according to aides.

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