“In concluding that greenhouse gases pose serious risks that justify regulation, the EPA failed to fully examine the far-reaching impacts such regulations could have on American mining and the nation’s economy,” said Hal Quinn, president and CEO, NMA. “The agency arrived at its finding after cavalierly disregarding potential economic impacts it, itself, identified.

“The EPA’s own estimation is that more than 6 million sources could be swept into a comprehensive regulatory program requiring the issuance of more than 40,000 permits each year—extending average permit approval times by a decade,” Quinn said. “This calamitous outcome would put economic recovery on ‘hold’ indefinitely. The EPA’s hope to avoid this calamity hangs by a thread. The agency believes it can raise the threshold for regulated sources that is clearly stipulated in the Clean Air Act, despite explicit warnings from the Supreme Court not to presume ‘a roving license to ignore’ statutory limits.

“The NMA also questions the EPA’s procedure for making the finding. Rather than conduct a new, independent analysis of updated and existing climate change related science and respond to the peer-reviewed scientific information it received earlier, the EPA merely endorsed the previous conclusions of various bodies without offering a reasoned assessment of subsequent data.”

The endangerment finding triggers the EPA’s authority under the CAA to pursue a broad-based GHG regulatory agenda, including setting new performance and permitting
standards for a wide array of emission sources. The EPA is expected to issue its first GHG regulations for the motor vehicle sector by the end of March. That action would expose any new or modified stationary source facilities to the requirement
that they analyze and address GHG emissions in their permit applications.

The NMA is also engaged in legislative efforts in Congress to repeal the EPA’s authority to regulate GHGs under the existing CAA. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) have introduced a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to set aside the EPA’s endangerment finding. The resolution (S.J.Res.26) enjoys bipartisan support from 40 co-sponsors and is privileged, requiring only 51 votes to pass the Senate. Sen. Murkowski is actively seeking additional support to ensure its passage and is expected to file a discharge petition and force Senate debate and consideration no later than the third week of March.

In the House, Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) has introduced legislation to amend the CAA in a manner that would deprive the EPA of the authority to regulate GHGs. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) and Marcia Blackburn (D-Tenn.) have introduced similar legislation. Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Joe Barton (D-Texas) plans to introduce a CRA resolution of disapproval similar to the Murkowski resolution shortly after the House returns from its President’s Day break.

The NMA and other business groups in the energy, manufacturing and agricultural sectors have organized a coalition to secure additional support for these legislative efforts to set aside the EPA’s current regulatory approach. The NMA has also engaged its grassroots ACT Online resources, www.nma.org, in support of the Murkowski resolution and is working with NMA member companies and allied state mining associations on this matter.