EPA Accused of Defying Law

House Government Reform Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman David McIntosh, R-Ind., Monday said the EPA "appears to be defying the law" in proposing stricter air quality standards.

Speaking before a meeting of the American Enterprise Institute, McIntosh said the agency failed to follow guidelines set forth in the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act and the Unfunded Mandates Control Act passed in the last Congress.

McIntosh said the EPA failed to conduct cost-benefit analyses called for under the SBREFA, and failed to consider the impact of the standard on state and local governments. Comparing the agency to the Marx brothers, McIntosh said the EPA went forward with the standards without adequate scientific backing, seemingly under the philosophy "operate first, diagnose later."

McIntosh said the EPA committed "voodoo regulation," and added that if the agency continues to ignore the law, Congress should debate giving responsibility for environmental regulation to another agency.

McIntosh last month wrote the EPA a letter posing a series of questions about compliance with SBREFA and the unfunded mandates law, as well as about the science of the standards. His next steps will be governed by the agency's response to his letter, he said.

Earlier at the same conference Monday, EPA Administrator Browner said the new standards are backed by "the most extensive scientific review and public outreach process ever conducted by EPA for public health standards," and that the science "is clear and compelling."

A federal court Monday agreed to extend the comment period for the new standards by 21 days. The EPA had asked for a 60-day extension.

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