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GOP eyes rules that firms say hurt jobs

"They don't seem to be interested in finding out what's true, what's real," Doniger said. He added that if Issa "really wanted to know what was going on, you would ask both sides to come in and tell you the facts."

Issa's spokesman, Kurt Bardella, said Issa's outreach was directed intentionally only at job creators. The committee welcomes input from any other stakeholders, he said.

Many of the business groups zeroed in on existing and anticipated rules by the EPA. The long list of targeted environmental regulations include those limiting emissions from industrial boilers, pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and chemical discharges from Appalachian mountaintop coal mining.

At least 13 industry groups targeted the EPA's proposed first attempt to regulate coal ash, the waste created by coal-burning power plants. The issue gained national attention in 2008 when a coal-ash holding cell ruptured near Knoxville, Tenn., sending 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic sludge into a nearby river and countryside.

More than two dozen groups said a proposal to require utilities, manufacturers and refiners to use the most efficient technology with industrial boilers and solid waste incinerators would be unduly costly. The American Forest and Paper Association said the regulation would cost companies in the forest-products industry more than $6 billion and put "tens of thousands of jobs at risk due to mill closures."

Businesses also said new fuel efficiency standards intended to curb greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles were hurting their ability to create jobs. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wrote in a Jan. 11 letter to Issa that meeting 2012-2016 fuel efficiency standards would cost the industry more than $50 billion.

Shane Karr, a vice president of the association, wrote that other new regulations involving ethanol, fuel economy labeling and rearward visibility "have the potential to impose significant additional costs on the car-buying public, and therefore also bear careful scrutiny."

Other industries opposed changes stemming from the sweeping 2010 Wall Street regulatory overhaul passed in the wake of the financial crisis.

For example, the Business Roundtable objected to a requirement that corporations disclose how the chief executive's pay compares to that of the typical employee. Computing the ratio would be "very difficult and expensive," the group said, and warned that companies could shed jobs to game the system.

"It could potentially cause companies to take actions that result in less employment, such as outsourcing, to produce better ratios," the group wrote in its Jan. 7 submission to Issa.

Also under scrutiny is a Federal Aviation Administration plan to combat pilot fatigue by mandating more rest time between shifts. The proposal came after fatigue was cited as a likely factor in the February 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 near Buffalo.

In a letter to Issa, Nicholas E. Calio, president of the Air Transport Association, an airline trade group, wrote that the FAA "failed to link their specific regulatory changes to targeted improvements."

But not every business group wrote to Issa with a wish list. The American Cleaning Institute, a trade association for manufacturers of soaps, detergents and household cleaning products, said that it already had addressed issues with regulatory agencies "through normal channels."

"We believe our concerns will be addressed," the group's president, Ernie Rosenberg, wrote to Issa on Jan. 13. "Toward that end, ACI does not have a specific matter to bring to the attention of the committee at this point in time."

ruckerp@washpost.comhilzenrath@washpost.com Staff writers David A. Fahrenthold and Steven Mufson contributed to this report.


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