Roby supports halt to proposed smog rules
Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said House Republicans plan to continue to take a close look at developing smog rules, even after President Barack Obama announced Friday he would ask the Environmental Protection Agency to back off some of its controversial proposed regulations.
Obama asked the EPA to withdraw a draft of what became known as the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, a set of regulations proponents said would significantly improve air quality in the United States. Opponents, however, said the regulations would be too costly to implement during a sluggish economy.
Obama's announcement came days after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, sent a memo to House Republicans, vowing to fight the standards in a series of upcoming votes.
Roby applauded Cantor's memo.
"Standing in our way of a solution for economic growth and stability is an administration placing stringent regulatory requirements on everything - from farm dust to cement - which is suffocating our business owners and stifling job development," Roby told the Dothan Eagle.
Electricity providers said many of the EPA proposals would ultimately lead to higher rates for consumers due to the cost companies incurred in installing the equipment necessary to meet the standards.
"Ninety-nine percent of our rate adjustment over the past five years has been a result of these clean air requirements," Fred Clark, Jr., president of the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, told the Dothan City Commission in May. AMEA is one of the power providers for the City of Dothan.
Clark said the proposed EPA regulations were designed to reduce emissions of mercury, gas, carbon dioxide and particulate matter and regulate water temperatures near hydroelectric plants. Clark said providers would spend billions of dollars to meet the standards if they are implemented.
Obama, in a statement released to media and on the WhiteHouse.gov web site, said economic conditions played a part in his decision.
"I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover," the statement said.
Environmental advocacy groups criticized Obama's decision, claiming the President caved in to "big business."In addition to the EPA regulations, Cantor's memo also proposed a 20 percent small business tax deduction.
"The goal was simple -- immediately free up funds for small business people to retain and hire new employees, and reinvest in and grow their businesses," Cantor's memo stated.
Roby supports the plan.
“Congress has an obligation to the American people to formulate a plan to encourage job creation and strengthen business growth in our communities," Roby said.
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