EPA Facts

Category Archive: Regulations

  1. Biofuel Waivers are Helping Small Refineries

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    Refineries fuel our economy in many ways, ensuring we have access to diesel fuel, gasoline, and even jet fuel. But one burdensome regulation is forcing refineries to close, and new biofuel waivers from the EPA might be their only hope of staying afloat.

    In the United States, refineries are required to blend renewable fuels – usually corn ethanol — into our gas before it hits the pump. It’s an expensive and burdensome process, but the ethanol mandate was originally introduced to reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil and to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The results tell a different story.

    America is the world’s largest producer of oil, making us more energy-independent than ever before. And studies have found that the burdensome ethanol mandate does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since ethanol evaporates at a lower temperature than gasoline, the blended gas causes more smog. It’s less efficient and more corrosive to engines. Research also shows that converting corn to ethanol leads to more clearing of rainforests.

    The mandate has also harmed our refineries—last year, a major refinery, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, had to file for bankruptcy protection due to the “soaring costs” of purchasing credits from biofuel producers.

    In short, forcing refiners to put ethanol in our fuel is bad for the environment, bad for vehicles, and bad for refiners.

    That’s one reason why, in 2017, the EPA adjusted the rules to allow refineries to avoid the ethanol blending requirement if they could prove that it caused a disproportionate impact on the facility. The change was truly a win for the small refineries that needed a break most: four times as many refineries received biofuel waivers in 2017 compared to 2015. These waivers have helped refineries more efficiently produce fuel, and avoid complying with a fuel standard that gives ethanol an undeserved boost in the marketplace.

    Our refineries shouldn’t be expected to comply with disastrous policies. With the EPA’s rule change allowing more exemptions, we can all hope that more refineries will be able to responsibly provide America with fuel and that the EPA will make more sensible decisions like expanding waivers in the future.

  2. The EPA’s Bad Ethanol Policy Needs to End

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    Just because something is bipartisan doesn’t make it a good idea—take the EPA-administered Renewable Fuel Standard as a prime example. Passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by Republican president George W. Bush, this policy mandates that every year until 2022, an increasing amount of corn-derived ethanol must be blended into the national gasoline supply in order to combat global warming and to promote energy independence. Right now, most gasoline has anywhere from 9-10% ethanol in it.

    This policy has been in place since 2007 and the results are clear.

    The U.S. is already the world’s largest oil producer, and the country is well on the path to energy independence—without the use of corn. Corn ethanol blended with gasoline corrodes the engines of older vehicles, does not lessen air pollution, reduces fuel efficiency, and jacks up the price of corn—which increases the price of feeding livestock, affecting countless grocery store products. Clearly, this policy prioritizes corn over sensibility.

    Late last year, the President traveled to Iowa and announced a new policy to permit year-round E15 (gasoline with 15 percent ethanol) sales, as opposed to the current policy that bans E15 sales in the summer. For everyone who’s not a politician from a corn state, this is bad news.

    As aptly described by the Washington Post:

    Never mind that the United States has meanwhile become a major oil exporter, due to a production boom. Never mind that the environmental harms of ethanol arguably outweigh its benefits, because it takes massive amounts of energy to distill ethanol from corn — and massive amounts of fragile farmland to grow that crop. Never mind that diverting resources into corn production for ethanol raises the price of food. Never mind all that, because 39 percent of Iowa’s corn crop goes to create nearly 30 percent of all U.S. ethanol. And Iowa is a swing state with six crucial electoral votes and a first-in-the-nation presidential caucus; whatever Iowa wants, Iowa gets, from politicians of both parties.

    Taxpayers will feel the brunt of this policy, as it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars via subsidies for special pumps and fueling infrastructure for outdoor power equipment. On an individual level, those with older vehicles face the possibility of engine failure forcing them to invest in a new car earlier than they budgeted for. Anti-free market policies mandating higher-ethanol blends like E15 are going to cause more air pollution, reduce fuel efficiency, increase food prices, and harm hard-working Americans.

    The EPA should have recognized the Renewable Fuel Standard as bad policy back in 2007. If Trump wants to take on the entrenched establishment, that job will necessarily involve taking on policies that only benefit the corn lobby.

  3. EPA Overreach Suffers a Big Loss

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    The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Act continues to threaten farmers and ranchers, but it just suffered a big loss in the courtroom.

    Andy Johnson, a Wyoming rancher, officially settled his $20 million lawsuit with the EPA, which had accused Johnson of violating the Clean Water Act—the EPA’s new way of regulating various U.S. waterways. His offense? Johnson built a small stock pond on his property to hydrate surrounding trees and wildlife. The EPA alleged that the pond harmed the environment, even though it actually provided a habitat for migratory birds and fish—not to mention water for Johnson’s horses—and stood in accordance with state and local permits. Johnson even commissioned a report from environmental experts showing the pond carried numerous environmental benefits, which the EPA initially brushed aside.

    And the agency’s allegation came with $37,500 per day in fines, ultimately adding up to $20 million by the time a settlement was reached. $20 million just for building a pond on your own property.

    Johnson isn’t alone: Farmers and ranchers across the country have become victims of the EPA’s intrusive agenda, which subjects property owners to harsh environmental regulations. One California farmer, for example, is now facing a lengthy legal battle for putting “clean water” in jeopardy. How did he do it? By plowing his own land.

    Fortunately for Andy Johnson—whose pond was exempted from EPA overreach—the agency is still not above the law.

  4. EPA Gives “Guilty Pleasure” a New Name

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    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working to implement a radical environmental agenda for years. But EPA employees apparently do much more at work than write up back-breaking climate rules and regulations.

    According to The Daily Caller, one EPA employee allegedly bought and drank alcohol during work hours “for several years.” Another agency worker admitted to watching pornography “regularly at work for the past several years.” Yet another was convicted of possessing marijuana on federal property—the same employee took three grams of marijuana and two pipes through a government security checkpoint.

    And then there’s the senior-level supervisor who engaged in an “inappropriate romantic relationship” with a subordinate—while encouraging other EPA employees to promote his romantic partner.

    The punishments for these transgressions weren’t exactly harsh. The EPA’s drinking guru and senior-level womanizer were both allowed to retire without further punishment. The agency’s porn enthusiast was suspended without pay for a grand total of five days, while the weed aficionado was suspended for 21 days without pay and then reinstated.

    And it all happened on the taxpayer’s dime.

    This much is clear: The EPA takes “guilty pleasure” to a whole new level.

  5. EPA Targets Farmer for Plowing His Own Land

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    We’ve known for a while that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is really the conduit for a radical environmentalist agenda.

    The EPA’s Clean Water Act is one example, whereby the federal government has staked its claim to hundreds of waterways around the country in the name of “clean water,” from public lakes to ponds on private property. By expanding the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), the EPA has seized the power to slam private landowners with more permits and higher compliance costs—including major fines.

    One family in Wyoming was hit with a $75,000-per-day fine for building a pond on their own property.

    As if that wasn’t enough, the ERA is now going after farmers for tending their land—not public property, but their own farmland. The federal agency sent John Duarte, a vine and wheat grower in California, a cease and desist letter ordering suspension of farming operations on a small parcel of land in rural Tehama County. The EPA claimed that he had broken the law under the new WOTUS rule, putting “clean water” in jeopardy.

    Duarte’s offense? Plowing his own land. And he wasn’t even given the chance to contest the EPA’s allegations—Duarte’s now facing a lengthy legal battle to reclaim the right to work the land in peace.

    It’s a sad reminder: Radical environmentalists will stop at nothing to impose their agenda on others—even law-abiding farmers who just want to be left alone.

  6. Environmentalists Push EPA for Even Costlier Ozone Limits

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    Today, the EPA began hearings on its proposal to slash ozone standards by up to 20 percent (from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 ppb). Areas of nearly every state wouldn’t be able to meet a 65 ppb limit, but environmental groups want the agency to go even further by imposing a limit of 60 ppb.

    Environmental activist groups, like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, insist that a 60 ppb ozone limit is necessary to protect against asthma attacks and premature deaths. Though the proposed limit will impose a high cost on a wide array of U.S. industries, the EPA claims that lowering the limit will result in billions of dollars in net benefits because of improved public health. But as a new report from Energy In Depth points out, the science used to justify these standards and calculate the net benefits is highly suspicious.

    In fact, some researchers argue that the EPA’s proposed standards could make public health worse. Dr. Michael Honeycutt, director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Toxicology Division, examined EPA’s data and found that a 65-70 ppb ozone standard could result in dozens more premature deaths.

    And lowering the limit to the environmentalist-approved 60 ppb would result in a loss of 4.3 million job equivalents each year—a fact that jeopardizes both our economy’s health and public health. It’s well established that stable, well-paying employment leads to better health. As the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation points out, laid-off workers are 54% more likely to have fair or poor health. (rearranged to avoid two em dashes in same paragraph)

    So while EPA bureaucrats and environmentalists wax poetic about the need for ever-more-stringent air rules, their lofty policies may actually be putting Americans’ health in jeopardy.

    For more info on the EPA’s ozone rule, check out our short video here.

  7. Do EPA Rules Make You Swear? Turns Out, You’re Not Alone

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    Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we can now easily view every public comment anyone submits to a federal agency through the website regulations.gov. And while there are plenty of comments offering substantive recommendations to federal bureaucrats, there are plenty that contain profanity to emphasize just how those commenters feel about new red tape.

    Bloggers at the Washington Post decided to analyze all those comments and rank federal agencies based on how many times a certain four letter word starting with “F” and a certain four letter word starting with “S” were used. Unsurprisingly, the IRS won by leaps and bounds. 

    It should also come as no surprise that the Environmental Protection Agency made the top 3—and in fact, the Post’s writer noted that had they analyzed all the comments submitted in bulk, the EPA would almost certainly vault into at least second place. Nearly forty percent of the comments submitted to the agency contain those particularly colorful swear words. As the agency continues to pump out regulations estimated to cost the economy billions of dollars and eliminate millions of jobs, it’s no wonder commenters are getting pretty heated!

  8. EPA Celebrates Thanksgiving by Issuing Possibly the Most Expensive Regulation in History

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    While Americans are busy prepping for the big meal tomorrow, EPA regulators announced a new proposal to tighten regulations on ozone emissions. Ozone, the main ingredient in smog, is one of the six pollutants the EPA regulates under the Clean Air Act.

    Currently, the ozone standard is 75 ppb—a limit set in 2008; chunks of the country are still unable to meet the current standard, including most of California. Under today’s proposal, the EPA will lower the standard to between 65 and 70 ppb, but will take comments on a limit as low as 60 ppb. The agency is set to finalize the standard by October of next year.

    While most of the country will struggle to meet a 65ppb standard, setting the limit at 60ppb would mean nearly every major city in the country would be unable to comply with the EPA’s standard. When the EPA proposed a 60 ppb standard in 2011, it estimated such a dramatic cut in emissions would cost $90 billion annually to implement.

    Another study of a 60ppb estimates the regulation could be the most expensive regulation in U.S. history—costing $270 billion per year and placing millions of jobs at risk. Using the study, commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers, we created the infographic below showing the top 12 states threatened by the EPA’s ozone rule.

    Click here to view the infographic.

    EPA_Infographic (6)

  9. Giving Thanks for Affordable Energy

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    For most Americans, heating our homes while cooking a turkey in the oven isn’t a financial burden. Because of our abundant natural resources, including natural gas, oil, and coal, energy in the United States is currently pretty affordable. Unfortunately, thanks to new regulations from Obama’s EPA, low energy bills could soon be a thing of the past.

    A new study finds that the torrent of costly new EPA regulations will raise Americans’ annual electricity and gas bills by 35 percent by 2020. These regulations include the Mercury Air Toxics Standard, Regional Haze, and the carbon dioxide rule for existing power plants.

    The economic burden of these rules varies from state to state. For example, residents of Illinois can expect their annual gas bills to jump from an average of $791 in 2012 to $1,443 by 2020—a whopping 82 percent increase. In Massachusetts, electricity rates are expected to rise by 41 percent over the same period—an average of $458 per household annually.

    Skeptical that environmental regulations can really raise our gas and electric bills? Just take a look at our counterparts across the pond.

    In Europe, environmental red tape has resulted in gas bills three times higher than in the U.S.; rates that high make it nearly impossible for those struggling financially to heat their homes in the winter. In Germany, environmental rules and the cost of government subsidies of renewable energy producers have caused average electricity prices to jump by 60 percent in just the past five year.

    This Thanksgiving, take a moment and give thanks for low-cost energy. In a few years, those crazy Black Friday deals certainly won’t seem so affordable when we’re paying thousands of dollars a year in higher electricity bills.

  10. Feds Join Chorus of Critics Opposed to EPA’s Water Grab

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    EPA employees have taken flak recently for watching porn at work, pretending to be secret agents, and defecating in hallways. Now they’re under fire from yet another critic: other government agencies.

    A few months ago, EPA proposed a rule to “clarify” the definition of “waters of the United States” subject to regulation under Clean Water Act. EPA claims the rule is noncontroversial and won’t have a major impact on the economy. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) thinks otherwise.

    In an Oct. 1 letter to EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, SBA urged EPA to withdraw its proposed water rule, explaining that it would impose “a direct and potentially costly impact on small businesses.” SBA criticized EPA for pushing the rule forward before analyzing potential small business impacts as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Fellow government employees are hardly the only critics of EPA’s power grab. Farmers and ranchers see the rule as a dramatic expansion of the agency’s regulatory authority to potentially include ponds and ditches on private property. As the American Farm Bureau puts it, “EPA and the Corps are now attempting to regulate virtually all water.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has called such concerns “ludicrous.”

    A broad and growing coalition has emerged to oppose EPA’s water rule. That EPA continues to dismiss these critics is indicative of the agency’s tin ear toward those affected by its radical agenda.