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The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing this week to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory activity under the Obama Administration, which highlighted the President and EPA’s blatant disregard for the Constitution and State authority. The hearing also addressed the drastic impact increased regulations have on U.S. energy and the economy as a whole.

Since President Obama assumed office in 2009, the EPA has published over 3,900 rules, averaging almost 500 annually, and amounting to over 33,000 new pages in the Federal Register. The hearing highlighted growing concerns from states and affected entities about the mounting complexity, costs, and legality of EPA rules.

The compliance costs associated with EPA regulations under Obama number in the hundreds of billions and have grown by more than $50 billion in annual costs since Obama took office. Such high costs, especially those related to the energy sector, ripple throughout the economy, impacting GDP, killing thousands of jobs, and increasing the cost of consumer goods.

In his opening statement, Chairman of the Subcommittee Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) noted that the impact of compliance costs is only part of the issue with EPA regulations. Chairman Whitfield stated the EPA’s “controversial and extreme interpretation” of it’s statutory authority has transformed it’s role to that of “ultimate” regulator. 

Testifying on the Administration and EPA’s overreach of authority, David J. Porter, Chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas, lambasted the Administration’s disregard for the rule of law, stating:

“The President disregards the Constitutional limits of his office and public opinion to forward his own liberal agenda…[and] in promoting his agenda, he has allowed EPA to become the mouthpiece for ideological propaganda.”

Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-Texas) echoed the concerns of Chairman Whitfield and Mr. Porter during his questioning of Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Rep. Olson argued that the EPA’s drafting of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) amounted to the Agency writing laws, far outside the scope of EPA statutory authority and in clear violation of the Constitution. 

Subcommittee members further pointed out that the EPA is so removed from the rule of law that it has continued to move forward with new rules to implement the CPP, despite the Supreme Court having issued a stay of the rule. Obviously under Obama’s “pen and phone” mentality, EPA bureaucrats feel emboldened to continue enacting major regulations without fear of legal recourse or retribution from Congress or the public.

It is clear from the Subcommittee hearing that President Obama has allowed, and even encouraged, EPA regulators to stretch the legal limits of the U.S. Constitution and the Agency’s statutorily granted authority. The President is obviously indifferent to the regulatory precedent he has set, as well as the impact his economically destructive “legacy” will have on American families, businesses, and the economy.  


Photo credit: Billy Hunt