U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe blasted the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules on soot Friday, calling them "the first in an onslaught of post-election rulemakings that will place considerable burdens on our struggling economy and eventually push us over the 'regulatory cliff.'"
The new standards require a 20 percent reduction in the emission of fine particulate matter, chiefly from diesel engines and coal-fired power generation plants. The EPA says every county in the United States except six in California should be able to meet the standard by 2020 with no additional action except enforcement of current regulations.
Manufacturers and supporters of the coal industry disagree, saying the standards will wreck the coal industry and slow economic growth.
Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, had tried to stop the EPA from issuing the new rule, which came in response to what many consider a friendly lawsuit by several states.
"EPA finalized these standards even though the EPA Office of Inspector General is in the middle of an investigation into EPA's mismanagement of key advisory committees and the scientific data used in its standard-setting process," Inhofe said.
"In July, I wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting that EPA not finalize (these) standards for at least one year after the Office of Inspector General completes its investigation, as EPA's failures could have direct bearing on the science underpinning those revisions. Not surprisingly, EPA pushed ahead, sacrificing sound science and transparency for its agenda of killing oil, gas and coal."
But the American Lung Association and similar groups say the tighter standards could save 15,000 lives a year. The EPA projects a net positive economic impact of $3.6 billion to $9 billion annually.
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