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GOP targets EPA after midterm election victory

FILE - This July 31, 2014 file photo shows House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. on Capitol Hill in Washington. Raul Garcia has a question for Kevin McCarthy, the House’s No. 2 Republican: “While we are waiting for you on immigration reform, who should be harvesting America’s food?” It’s a provocative query and the foundation of Garcia’s long-shot challenge to McCarthy, a three-term incumbent who rose to power after another GOP leader thought unsinkable, Virginia’s Eric Cantor, fell to an unknown candidate in a primary. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File\n

House Republicans plan to pass three bills later this month that would rein in an Environmental Protection Agency they say is imposing costly new regulations on American companies without justification.

The House returns to work next week, but will only consider some small, non-controversial bills. The week after, however, is reserved for work on the EPA, according to a statement from the office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

FILE - This July 31, 2014 file photo shows House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. on Capitol Hill in Washington. Raul Garcia has a question for Kevin McCarthy, the House’s No. 2 Republican: “While we are waiting for you on immigration reform, who should be harvesting America’s food?” It’s a provocative query and the foundation of Garcia’s long-shot challenge to McCarthy, a three-term incumbent who rose to power after another GOP leader thought unsinkable, Virginia’s Eric Cantor, fell to an unknown candidate in a primary. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File The office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said members will vote on three bills later this month to rein in the EPA. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

While Republicans are emboldened by their midterm election wins, House passage of the three EPA bills is likely to mean little to the Senate, which is still led by Democrats until early next year. However, the bills are indicative of the kinds of deregulatory proposals that Republicans can be expected to pass once the new GOP-led House and GOP-led Senate convene in 2015.

One of these bills is the Secret Science Reform Act, from Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.). Schweikert and other Republicans say the EPA is too often basing regulations on science provided by environmental groups that is not made available to the public.

To fix that problem, the bill would prohibit the EPA from proposing regulations based on science that isn't released to the public, or isn't repeatable.

"The Secret Science Reform Act ends costly EPA rulemaking from happening behind closed doors and out of public view," Schweikert said when he introduced his bill earlier this year. "Public policy should come from public data, not based on the whims of far-left environmental groups."

"Virtually every air regulation proposed by the Obama administration has been justified based upon nontransparent data and unverifiable claims," added Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

The second bill, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, deals with a similar issue. This bill from Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) is aimed at creating a more balanced group of scientific experts that is used to assess various environmental regulations, and allowing for public participation in those discussions.

“Through the EPA, the Obama administration is aggressively pursuing costly regulations that impact nearly every sector of the American economy," Stewart said last year of his bill. "Most of these rules are based on controversial scientific assertions and conclusions, so it is critical they be reviewed by a balanced panel of experts in an open and transparent manner."

The third bill is the Promoting New Manufacturing Act, from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), which would require the EPA to provide guidance on how to comply with air quality standards.

It would also require the EPA to say publicly how long it takes to get permits, and a report to Congress on how the EPA is speeding up the process. Scalise says permitting delays are costing thousands of American jobs.

"By increasing transparency and holding the EPA accountable, we can jump start a broken permitting process that is holding back our economy, which is good news for hard working taxpayers," he said back in May.

One last thing…
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