EPA's bad rules have finally united a divided Congress

(The Detroit News 1-26-2012)   Regulations that would cost businesses billions thwarted: Lost amid the coverage of partisan squabbles in Washington is the bipartisan record being built in the House of Representatives.  Republicans and Democrats in the House are coming together to pass meaningful legislation — with strong bipartisan majorities — that will save jobs and strengthen the economy.
A bipartisan consensus is growing in Congress out of concern about the Environmental Protection Agency's agenda that will cost American jobs at a time when the country desperately needs them.
Thankfully, both Republicans and Democrats recognize the severe consequences that these rules would have on the people they represent.
Take the EPA's proposed regulations on emissions from industrial and commercial boilers — the so-called Boiler MACT rules. Boilers are critical in today's modern manufacturing facilities. They are used in paper mills, steel mills, refineries, food processors and chemical plants, and they're also found in hospitals, hotels and other commercial facilities.
The EPA's proposed boiler rules would reach all of these industries, manufacturers and nonmanufacturers alike.
It's estimated that manufacturers alone would have to spend $14.5 billion to come into compliance with the new rule. That's money that manufacturers could put to a better use to hire new workers and expand their facilities.
The wide-ranging effect of the proposed Boiler MACT regulations generated bipartisan concern in Congress.
Republicans and Democrats also joined together to pass legislation that would prevent the EPA from regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste.
Many manufacturers recycle coal ash, a byproduct when coal is burned, to make products like wallboard and plastics and materials like concrete and asphalt. This recycling not only keeps coal ash out of landfills — it also saves manufacturers — and ultimately consumers — money.
In fact, if the EPA implements coal ash rule, the cost to manufacturers could exceed $110 billion over two decades; 300,000 jobs could be lost.
Other bipartisan victories include legislation to make the EPA study the costs of its proposed regulations and a measure that would force the agency to slow down its efforts to impose tough new rules on cement manufacturers.
Members of the House have done their part by reaching across the aisle to pass these critical bills. Indeed, the EPA has succeeded in what many have thought is impossible in Washington: it has brought Republicans and Democrats together.
Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. Email comments to letters@detnews.com.