Rounds Urges Attorney General Pruitt to Restore Order at EPA

Rounds Urges Attorney General Pruitt to Restore Order at EPA

Asks Trump’s EPA Pick to Respect State and Local Input, Use Sound Science, and Roll Back Current Administration’s Overly Burdensome Regulations

PIERRE—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today wrote to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Trump’s intended nominee to be the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, urging him to correct many of the current administration’s damaging protocols at the EPA. Rounds is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee and Chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, which has oversight of the EPA.

In the 114th Congress, both the EPW Committee and Rounds’ subcommittee have uncovered troubling practices by the EPA, including failing to take state and local concerns into consideration when making decisions, skewing facts to support its agenda and circumventing Congress to impose burdensome, costly regulations on the American people. 

“I am hopeful the incoming administration will takes steps to improve the federal regulatory process to make certain federal regulations are promulgated in a transparent and open manner, underpinned by the best scientific evidence available, and with adequate public participation,” wrote Rounds. “I am concerned that  [the] flaws in the current administration’s EPA regulatory process have led to overly-burdensome EPA regulations that are based on incorrect assumptions and do not adequately realize the impacts these regulations have on state and local governments, and American businesses and taxpayers.”

Full text of the letter is below: 

Dear Attorney General Pruitt –

I would like to extend my congratulations to you on your nomination to serve as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I commend you for the work you have done as Oklahoma Attorney General to reinforce states’ rights and reign in an overly-expansive EPA, and I am encouraged that your background working in state government will allow us to show renewed focus on the importance of state and local government experience and input in the EPA regulatory process. I look forward to working with you and supporting you throughout the confirmation process.‎ 

I am hopeful the incoming administration will takes steps to improve the federal regulatory process to make certain federal regulations are promulgated in a transparent and open manner, underpinned by the best scientific evidence available, and with adequate public participation. 

In the 114th Congress, I served as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight. One of my main goals as chairman has been to conduct a thorough and systematic review of the regulatory process focusing on the impacts of EPA regulations on citizens and businesses, as well as solutions to these problems. 

To that end, I would like to share with you some of the lessons we have learned on the subcommittee throughout our oversight of the current administration in the 114th Congress.  I would be interested in your thoughts on these issues and am looking forward to the opportunity to discuss them with you in person.

·         Under the current administration, the EPA’s process for considering scientific information is flawed and unbalanced. There is a lack of balanced expertise, geographic diversity, and state, local and tribal representation on EPA advisory panels such as the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) and the Science Advisory Board (SAB). There has also been a lack of member turnover, meaningful public participation and transparency on these advisory panels.   

·         The EPA’s regulatory approach is inefficient and disregards small businesses. The EPA has exploited ambiguities in the Regulatory Flexibility Act to impose overly burdensome regulations on American small businesses with little regard to the real-world consequences of the regulations. 

·         For the past eight years, the EPA has not upheld the principle of cooperative federalism and regularly violates the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by imposing costly unfunded mandates on state, local and tribal governments without adequately taking into consideration the impact these regulations have on smaller governmental entities.  Further, the EPA circumvents consultation requirements and does not adequately consider public comments that aim to explain how EPA regulations will impact state and local governments and American taxpayers. 

·         The EPA does not conduct a robust economic analysis of the impact of regulations, particularly the effects of regulation on employment; nor does the agency take into consideration the cumulative impacts of multiple layers of regulations that are imposed on states, American citizens and businesses.

I am concerned that these flaws in the current administration’s EPA regulatory process have led to overly-burdensome EPA regulations that are based on incorrect assumptions and do not adequately realize the impacts these regulations have on state and local governments, and American businesses and taxpayers. As we enter the 115th Congress and welcome a new administration, it is my hope that regulatory reform will be a cornerstone of the legislative agenda moving forward.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to discussing these issues with you. 

Sincerely, 

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