Government

Johnson Lauds Court Ruling on Air Pollution Limits

MARIETTA, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson applauded yesterday’s announcement by the Supreme Court of its ruling in Michigan v. EPA.

The high court, in its 5-4 decision, ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should have considered costs to utilities before determining whether to set limits for toxic air pollutants back in 2011.

“When agencies come up with costly regulations, they need to consider who will end up footing the bill,” said Johnson, R-6 Ohio, in a prepared statement following the ruling.

“No one cares more about the air we breathe and the water we drink than the people who live here in along the Ohio River,” the congressman said. “However, there must be a balance between health regulation and excessive costs that would have a chilling impact on coal jobs and the cost of electricity in eastern and southeastern Ohio.”

To help protect coal jobs, Johnson noted he offered an amendment last week to the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill. Passed unanimously by voice vote, the amendment reduces the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s budget by $2 million and transfers those funds to the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.

“This amendment will help stop excessive federal interference and restore the states’ role in surface mining regulation. In particular, over the previous five years, OSM has spent more than $10 million of its already disproportionally large budget to pursue a wholesale rewrite of the ‘Stream Protection Rule,’ which has little to do with protecting streams, and more to do with strong-arming state regulatory programs,” Johnson said.

“The Office of Surface Management has completely cut states out of the process, in violation of its legal obligations,” he added. “This amendment helps ensure that OSM stays within their boundaries. Today’s Supreme Court ruling sends a similar message to the EPA.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.