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Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) Submits Letter To Judiciary Subcommittee, Receives Testimony Regarding REINS Act

Mar 5, 2013
Press Release

Washington, DC- This morning, Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) submitted the following letter into the record of the Regulatory Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, who today received testimony regarding the Regulations From The Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2013.

Transcript of letter

Dear Mr. Chairman:

As an original cosponsor to the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2013 (REINS Act) I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share with your subcommittee my views on this legislation.  For far too long the United States Congress has allowed the Executive branch to implement regulations with costs that far outweigh the benefits.  Whether our economy is strong and our public debt nonexistent, or whether our economy is weak and public debt enormous, our standard setting economic machine demands more precision from its government.

In March of this year, we expect to see the final rule for a new Tier 3 gasoline regulation published to further reduce sulfur in gasoline.  If implemented it’s estimated to increase the cost of gasoline anywhere from 9 to 25 cents per gallon.  The Boiler MACT rule, the Mercury Air Toxics rule, the Coal Ash RCRA rule, and Greenhouse Gas rule for new and soon to be existing power plants will all make coal-fired plants so expensive that our country will become overly reliant on natural gas to generate our electricity.  The Government Accountability Office estimates that Dodd-Frank could cost the government $2.9 billion dollars over five years without taking into account the added compliance costs and lost economic activity due to uncertainty of its implementation.    

In my previous position as a Commissioner at the North Dakota Public Service Commission (Commission) I saw firsthand the effects unscrutinized regulation can have.  Just last year, the Commission was asked to make an advance determination of prudence finding for a group of electric utility companies to invest in $494 million worth of environmental equipment for a coal-fired power plant immediately across the border in South Dakota.  The investment was necessary to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s promulgation of the Regional Haze rule, and is estimated to increase customer electric rates by 15 percent.  Regional Haze has the goal of no man-made visibility impairment in Class I areas (i.e. National Parks and Wilderness Areas) by 2064 with no health component.  As a regulator myself, I was at a loss to allow such a drastic cost on families and businesses with no commensurate health benefits.

With the REINS Act in place, regulations like Regional Haze will undergo a more extensive analysis of the costs to consumers, industries, and federal agencies.  The effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, and innovation must be taken into account.

In a free market economy, we allow consumers and businesses to interact and contract with one another, but in the event major rules and regulations become necessary we should at the very least have the people’s legislative body affirm or deny them.