The Obama administration has repeatedly said job creation is a top priority, but apparently the memo seems to have missed the bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This became evident when EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus testified Thursday before an Environment and Energy subcommittee hearing that his agency does not take jobs into account when it issues new regulations.
“We have not directly taken a look at jobs in the proposal,” Stanislaus said, referring to a regulation that would govern industries that recycle coal ash and other fossil fuel byproducts.
Coal ash is commonly used to make concrete stronger and longer lasting, make wallboard more durable and improve the quality of roofing shingles.
Stanislaus made his comments in response to questioning by Colorado GOP Rep. Cory Gardner looking into whether the EPA is complying with a recent presidential executive order and considering jobs in its regulatory regime. The EPA issued a April 30, 2010 statement in the appendix of its regulatory impact analysis for proposed regulation under the Resources and Recovery Act (RCRA) of coal ash.
That statement said: “The [regulatory impact assessment] does not include either qualitative or quantitative estimation of the potential effects of the proposed rule on economic productivity, economic growth, employment, job creation or international economic competitiveness.”
The statement contradicts Executive Order 13563, which President Obama signed in January requiring rules to take job creation into account when federal agencies issue new rules.
Gardner pressed Stanislaus as to whether or not EPA had done a direct economic analysis on how the rule would affect jobs, to which Stanislaus replied saying that EPA had not included jobs in its cost-benefit analysis of the rule.
“Do you feel an economic analysis that does not include the complete picture on jobs, is that a full economic analysis?” Gardner asked. “I think it is really a yes or no question.
“To me, I don’t see how you can talk about economic analysis without talking about jobs… and you said that you would not promulgate a rule where the costs would exceed the benefits,” Gardner continued. “But if you are not taking into account jobs, I don’t see how that goes.”
Gardner’s line of questioning had Stanislaus visibly dumbfounded, and he repeatedly told the congressman he would have to get back to him with the answers to his questions.