Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo

Environmental Group Will Sue Small Business

The Center for Biological Diversity confirmed what I have long feared. In comments made to the Wall Street Journal the special interest group stated they will sue for the regulation of small emitters under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act.

Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying her group is prepared to sue for regulation of smaller emitters if the EPA stops at simply large emitters.

Special interest groups around the country are scheming to sue the EPA to prosecute hospitals, farms, nursing homes, commercial buildings and any other small emitter of greenhouse gasses. These regulations are a dangerous loose cannon in the wrong hands.

When asked about potential lawsuits, Regina McCarthy, the Administration’s nominee as Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of Air and Radiation said that she will “request that I be informed if any such notice is filed with regard to a small source, and I will follow-up with the potential litigants.”

The solution to this problem is not to have government officials go around asking litigants not to sue. That is not a solution and entirely unrealistic. I quite frankly expect more.

The only jobs this option will create are in law firms as the litigation bonanza begins.

The EPA’s recent endangerment finding lists CO2 as a threat to public health. The finding will trigger a flood of new regulations and judicial challenges that will effect up to 1.2 million small businesses, farms, nursing homes, hospitals, commercial buildings and other small businesses.

Litigators and courts will drive this job-killing regulation. These rules will create such a fog of uncertainty for investors and small business. Small business will find it even more difficult to borrow money.

By the EPA’s own estimate, the typical pre-construction permit in 2007 cost each applicant $125,000 and 866 hours to obtain. The process will overwhelm the EPA and small business.

The EPA needs to take this option off the table immediately. If there is no plan, there is no roadmap on how to deal with this problem. How will the nominee respond to losing court cases if you tried to exempt hospitals, farms, nursing homes, commercial buildings and other small emitters?

Last week I placed a hold on the nomination of Regina McCarthy as Assistant Administrator of the EPA Office of Air and Radiation.

Senator John Barrasso sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee.

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