A major business group has compiled a “wish list” for the new Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives, asking for policy changes that would reverse efforts intended to reduce toxic emissions and enhance trucker safety.
The National Association of Manufacturers, or NAM, included the list in a Jan. 7 letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee. It called for immediate action on an array of regulatory changes the Obama administration is proposing or implementing. If the regulatory changes, the letter said, “are not substantially changed from their present form, they could cost millions of jobs and weaken an economy in a still fragile recovery.”
It’s not clear how much ground the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress will yield. But the Talking Points Memo website, which posted a copy of the letter, said that, “Given NAM’s influence in the GOP, it likely provides a glimpse at the sorts of regulations Republicans will challenge.”
The regulatory areas identified by NAM include the following:
- Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gas emissions as well as air quality standards for ground-level ozone.
- An EPA rule that would establish more stringent emission standards on industrial and commercial boilers. “This broad-reaching proposal could cost manufacturers over $20 billion in compliance costs,” NAM says.
- New shipping and handling requirements for transportation of lithium batteries.
- A Department of Transportation proposal to reduce 11-hour driving and 14-hour on-duty times for truckers and introduce new rest mandates.
The fight over boiler emissions, for one, could be tough. The EPA has said its new rules “would significantly cut emissions of pollutants that are of particular concern for children. Mercury and lead can cause adverse affects on children’s developing brains — including effects on IQ, learning, and memory.”
Issa has made no secret of his desire to shake up the regulatory environment. Late last year, he asked the country’s major trade associations and private corporations to let him know what regulations they would like to see weakened or eliminated. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has requested his help in fighting a proposal under consideration by the Obama administration to boost fuel-economy standards for new cars and trucks to as high as 62 miles per gallon by 2025.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the alliance’s letter to Issa
marks a shift in the industry’s public stance on fuel-economy regulations. Leaders of several major foreign and domestic auto makers joined President Barack Obama in the White House Rose Garden in May 2009 to support an agreement to boost federal fuel-economy standards to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. The event symbolically ended years of industry opposition to any significant boost in the old standard of 27.5 mpg for passenger cars.