Obama Would Veto Latest GOP Assault On Pollution Controls

October 3, 2011 2:42 p.m.

The Obama administration is rejecting House GOP leaders’ latest attempt to box him into a corner on environmental protections.

Late Monday afternoon the Office of Management and Budget recommended the President veto two bills House Republicans are planning to bring to the floor for a vote later this week.In a letter to Obama early Monday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and team touted the EPA Regulatory Relief Act and the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act as two areas of potential common ground with the President’s jobs package because both would slash regulations on businesses, which Obama has pledged to reduce.

As written, House Republicans argue that the cement rules threaten to shut down up to 20 percent of the nation’s cement manufacturing plants in the next two years, “sending thousands of jobs permanently overseas and driving up cement and construction costs across the country.”

But the administration quickly rebuffed the Republican entreaties, arguing that each bill would undermine public health protections under the Clean Air Act.

“These bills would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving ahead with long-overdue requirements to reduce air pollution from industrial boilers, solid waste incinerators, and cement plants,” the officials wrote in a release. “The bills also would weaken EPA’s ability to ensure that its standards protect American families from a range of harmful pollutants including mercury and other toxic metals, as well as smog and soot.”

The bill aimed at the cement industry would require EPA to issue new regulations for cement-plant emissions in 15 months and delay the compliance period for the rules.

The EPA Regulatory Relief Act is the latest GOP assault on the EPA and aims to force the agency to issue new rules for air emissions from industrial boilers in 15 months and delay the compliance period for the regulations.

If Congress is serious about creating jobs, it should pass the President’s jobs bill that would “fund infrastructure projects that will help get our economy moving again and create jobs throughout the economy, including in the cement sector,” the officials wrote.

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