Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ralph Hall's duplicitious dirty-air amendment is shot down on a point of order

from the Congressional Record:

Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I rise
today in support of my amendment directing
the United States Environmental
Protection Agency to enter
into an agreement with the National
Academy of Sciences to perform a comprehensive
review of non-mercury hazardous
air pollutants emitted by electric
generating units and industrial
boilers, recognizing the boiler maximum
achievable control technology,
called MACT, is moving toward the end
of the rulemaking process while the
utility MACT will debut soon.
My amendment requires that the review
provide for health and economic
data, including impacts on job creation,
energy price, supply and reliability
associated with the potential
regulation of non-mercury hazardous
air pollutants.
The Clean Air Act regulates two
kinds of air emissions: criteria pollutants,
which are high in volume; and
hazardous air pollutants, which are low
in volume but can be toxic.
Folks are familiar with the most
noteworthy of the hazardous air pollutants
for utilities and industrial boilers,
mercury. Let me be clear, my amendment
does nothing to affect mercury
controls. The amendment focuses only
on those hazardous air pollutants other
than mercury. EPA simply fails to do
all the necessary homework when it
comes to potential regulation of hazardous
air pollutants other than mercury.
This amendment asks the National
Academy of Sciences to assist EPA in
doing its homework and encourages
EPA to listen and encourages EPA to
learn. This will assist EPA in establishing
a clear and direct administrative
record for non-mercury hazardous
air pollutants; and without adequate
study, regulations in this area could
place jobs and economic output at risk,
while threatening household budgets.
The power sector faces an avalanche
of regulations from EPA, and it’s important
to get each of them right and
correct. A recent executive order laid
out a new review process for regulations
and asked that the agencies consider
costs and how best to reduce burdens
for American businesses and consumers.
The amendment echoes the need for
responsible regulations that protect
health and environment but also provide
for reasonable rates and dates. The EPA maximum achievable control
technology rule for industrial commercial
and institutional boilers and process
heaters could impose tens of billions
of dollars in capital costs at thousands
of facilities across the country.
I, along with a large number of my
colleagues, sent a letter to EPA Administrator
Lisa Jackson expressing
our concerns with the proposed rule.
It’s my understanding that although
the boiler MACT rule will come out
later this week, upon reconsideration
of the rule, the information gathered
by the review required under this
amendment may be useful.
I remain concerned as EPA moves toward
a utility MACT rule. Logically, I
bring this amendment to the floor
today to protect a simple way of thinking.
The government should not regulate
without sound science to back it
up. Let’s remind EPA to slow down and
allow for reasoning along with regulation.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I understand
the concern of the gentleman
from Texas, and we pledge to work
with him as the EPA comes before our
committee to address this issue, but I
must insist on my point of order.
I make a point of order against the
amendment because it proposes to
change existing law and constitutes
legislation in an appropriation bill and,
therefore, violates clause 2 of rule XXI.
The rule states in pertinent part: an
amendment to a general appropriation
bill shall not be in order if it changes
existing law. This amendment gives affirmative
action in effect.
I ask for a ruling by the Chair.
The Acting CHAIR. Does any other
Member wish to be heard on the point
of order? Seeing none, the Chair finds
that this amendment includes language
imparting direction. The amendment,
therefore, constitutes legislation in
violation of clause 2 of rule XXI.
The point of order is sustained and
the amendment is not in order.

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