The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

New GHG Rules Could Lead to Fewer Jobs

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 21, 2010

Here's an excellent example of how duplicative regulations can cause problems for the economy and American consumers. At issue is the EPA's new authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act.

In March, EPA is expected to finalize a rule that will expand the reach of the Clean Air Act to cover any facility that emits GHGs, which EPA estimates at six million. EPA also will attempt to delay its enforcement on "small emitters" (up to 250 tons per year) for five years.

Although EPA says its new rules should protect small businesses from requirements under the Clean Air Act, laws in about 40 states require small businesses to comply.

As a result, millions of small and large businesses could be surprised to learn that they have to obtain Clean Air Act operating permits for the first time for both pre-construction projects and normal operations. As reported by E&E Daily, these businesses could include small brick manufacturers, auto service centers, and many, many others.

State governors and agencies wrote to EPA in December that the resulting rush to get emissions permits could swamp state agencies with applications, add to the cost of doing business and delay pre-construction permits for business expansions. That could delay stimulus projects and job creation at a time when the official unemployment rate stands at 10 percent.

This morning, the Labor Department announced that the number of laid-off workers rose unexpectedly last week, as another 36,000 people sought unemployment benefits. It's quite possible that the new GHG regulations could harm their ability to find new jobs in the near future.