Obama Considers New EPA and Transportation Regs With $1 Billion Price Tag

Obama Considers New EPA and Transportation Regs With $1 Billion Price Tag

President Obama is considering 4 EPA regs and 3 DOT regs with an annual federal cost of $1 billion.

President Obama and congressional lawmakers' famous squabble over the debt deal this summer has left some firmly entrenched ideologies on both sides of the economy. In one case Democrats are dead-set against major cuts to entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid, and are advocating further stimulus spending. Among economists that believe in further federal stimulus to bolster the economy, there are estimates that as much as $300 billion would be necessary to prevent backsliding. Of course any kind of increase in spending will be anathema to congressional Republicans that have already established a hard line against any increases to government spending, instead pursuing a strict campaign to cut federal spending and taxes. That makes president Obama's recent announcement, that he's considering seven new regulations that would cost the government up to $1 billion annually, a highly unlikely sell to "limited government" Republicans across the aisle.

As reported by Huffington Post-Associated Press, in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Obama mentioned seven federal regulations he's considering; four by the Environmental Protection Agency and three by the Department of Transportation, that could cost the federal government more than $1 billion a year. This letter comes at a strange time, on the eve of a House bill that would limit the President's power to pass regulations unilaterally if the cost on industries were significant. In the past the President was able to use executive power in passing regulations. Congressional checks and balances on this executive power has been in the determining the funding and scope of the regulatory agencies that enforce them. This bill, should it pass, would realign those checks and balances, at least where industrial regulatory reform is concerned. This seems like baiting a dangerous dog; submitting costly regulation reforms right before a substantial legislative bill that could possibly curtail some of the President's executive power.

One of the regulations that Obama is considering for the EPA is an increase within standards of urban air quality (i.e. smog) and could cost the economy between $19 billion and $90 billion. Other EPA regulations would also be concerning air pollution and coal residue mainly from coal-fired power plants. Republicans have already come out against the EPA and new industrial regulations enforced by the agency. According to the article, John Boehner has already asked for detailed cost analyses of the more than 219 regulations that Obama has proposed this year; many with estimated costs of over $100 million a year. As to the Republicans reaction to these costs, Boehner says, "At a time like this, with our economy struggling to create jobs, it's misguided for the federal government to be imposing so many new rules with such enormous costs, even when some of those rules may be well-intentioned."

The EPA and the President, however, say that the cost savings through implementing these new environmental regulations is "billions" more than the upfront cost because of the savings in health-care costs; reduced instances of lung cancer, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Obama reports that he's already saved $10 billion over five years from new rules, and of regulations in place between 2009-2010, "the benefits of such rules – including not only monetary savings but also lives saved and illnesses prevented – exceeded the costs by tens of billions of dollars." In such a divisive era of hyper-accountability among publicly funded entities and a popular movement toward limited government, reactions to new and costly regulations will be swift and loud.