CLIMATE:

EPA denies GOP request to redo Waxman-Markey analysis

U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday denied GOP requests to perform a new economic analysis of the House-passed climate and energy bill, saying the Energy Department has essentially answered any outstanding questions.

Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) asked EPA last month to revise its study of the House bill, because it "offers an incomplete account of the bill's major provisions, how they overlap, and how they impact consumers, households, and the economy."

In a letter to EPA, the top two Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee asked the agency to use a reference case including the most recent data from the Energy Information Administration's April 2009 Annual Energy Outlook; insert the economic projections from President Obama's fiscal 2010 budget proposal; and include analysis of a variety of situations in which low-carbon energy sources are constrained.

The EPA analysis of the House bill found it would cost U.S. households $80 to $111 a year (E&ENews PM, June 23).

Jackson yesterday said EPA won't do a new study because a new analysis of the bill from the Energy Information Administration -- the statistical arm of the Energy Department -- contains many of the attributes the senators requested, including scenarios where low-carbon energy sources prove to be very expensive.

EPA is prepared to conduct an objective and thorough analysis of the climate and energy bill expected from EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) next month, Jackson wrote in her response, adding the senators should discuss the parameters of the analysis with the chairwoman.

But Inhofe said that EIA's analysis does not cover some of the key issues they raised in their letter, including the availability of international offsets and the effects of the bill on states like Ohio, which rely on manufacturing for jobs and coal for electricity.

"In effect, EPA has refused to provide members of Congress, as they prepare for meetings and events with their constituents over the August recess, with critical information on the Waxman-Markey energy tax and how it will affect jobs in the Midwest, South, and Great Plains, as well as food, gasoline, and electricity prices for all American consumers," Inhofe said in a statement.

Inhofe added that additional analysis of the House bill was needed despite EPA's plans to analyze future legislation.

"We asked for an analysis of the Waxman-Markey bill, which would be the House position in a potential conference committee," Inhofe said. "Thus the economic consequences of the bill are critical for senators to understand."

Senior EPA official 'held'

Voinovich said yesterday that he will not release a procedural "hold" on the EPA deputy administrator nominee until EPA completes a new analysis of the House bill. Voinovich has been blocking Robert Perciasepe's confirmation since last month over concerns about EPA's analysis.

"My attitude is that I want them to do another evaluation, because the real issue here is what's the economic impact that all of this is going to have and the potential because it's going to really color the judgment of people on whether they can support the bill," he said.

Click here to read the letter from Inhofe and Voinovich.

Click here to read Jackson's response.

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