Skip to main content
Press Release Published: Jul 10, 2024

Hearing Wrap Up: The Biden Administration’s EPA Abused its Authority to Advance a Radical Climate Agenda

WASHINGTON—The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a hearing today titled, “Oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.” Members exposed how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Biden Administration has operated outside its rulemaking authority and implemented burdensome regulations and sweeping executive orders to advance President Biden’s radical environmental agenda and appease left-wing climate activists. During the hearing, members pressed EPA Administrator Michael Regan on the Administration’s record-shattering $1.6 trillion in estimated new federal regulatory costs and emphasized how American consumers and businesses are shouldering the financial burden across the country. The House Oversight Committee will continue to investigate waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement at the EPA to ensure accountability and transparency for the American people.  

Key Takeaways:

Under the leadership of Administrator Michael Regan, the Biden Administration’s EPA has pushed massive, costly regulations to advance President Biden’s radical environmental agenda.

To date, EPA is responsible for over 80 percent of the Biden Administration’s record-shattering $1.6 trillion in new federal regulatory costs and Americans are paying the price.

The EPA is overreaching its environmental protection authorities extensively, flouting the limits the Supreme Court set upon them two years ago in West Virginia v. EPA and adopting statutory interpretations that will not pass muster under the Court’s recent decision in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo.

The Biden Administration must put the interests of the American people first, and not simply aim to appease well-organized, left-wing special interest groups and climate scaremongers. 

Member Highlights:

Rep. Gary Palmer (R- Ala.) asked EPA Administrator Regan to provide reports to the Committee about its use of secretive “sue-and-settle” practices and implementation of burdensome regulations at the bidding of special interests.

Rep. Palmer: “In March of this year, the Inspector General issued a report that found the EPA does not properly store its procurement data, paving the way for fraudulent, collusive behavior with vendors receiving contracts and subcontracts. This prevents the Inspector General from adequately conducting oversight. Are you doing anything to correct this?”

Administrator Regan: “We have. We have, yes.”

Rep. Palmer: “Okay good. I’d like to know if you would report to the Committee in writing what you’ve done to correct this. Because it’s not the first time this question has been raised about the EPA’s potential collusion with friendly outside parties, especially with environmental groups during litigation, as I said sometimes referred to as ‘sue-and-settle’ litigation.”

Rep. Palmer: “When was the last time the government audited EPA litigation?”

Administrator Regan: “I’m not quite sure which specific audit you’re referring to. We welcome all audits.”

Rep. Palmer: “I would like to know and report to the Committee whether or not you’ve had an audit of EPA involvement in litigation.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) discussed how EPA regulations will raise costs on all American consumers and businesses.

“The Biden Administration’s cumulative new regulatory costs imposed surpassed all of his predecessors. According to analysis of the Administration’s own published cost estimates, as of May 17th 2024, the Administration had already imposed $1.6 trillion in new regulatory cost. That $1.6 trillion is almost the entire budget for one year for the federal government. These costs are several times higher than the costs imposed during the entire eight years of the Obama Administration, and they are over 1.7 trillion greater than those imposed during the Trump Administration.”

“Electric vehicles add 1,000 pounds or more per vehicle. That causes damage to roads, bridges, and parking garages. […] The EPA regulations are unsustainable for Americans.”

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) warned about the rising costs of energy and pressed Administrator Regan on what steps EPA is taking to ensure the American people have access to reliable and affordable energy.

Rep Perry: “Americans I represent complain to me nearly daily about electricity prices. I am sure you know grid operators are sounding the alarm about potential disruptions, including blackouts. How does the EPA factor in the cost to the people I represent that pay these bills or the grid operators? And are their concerns about reliability?”  

Administrator Regan: “We engage in robust conversations… we believe we have resolved all anxiety.”

Rep Perry: “What about ratepayers? Where do these needs actually factor into your decision making? My bosses can’t afford their daycare, electricity, groceries. I have to face them… People can’t afford their bills right now.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) warned about waste, fraud, and abuse in environmental justice grants made by the EPA.

Rep. Mace: “Mr. Regan, as part of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, the EPA established the office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, which now manages three billion dollars for environmental and climate justice to fund community-based NGOs. As part of the allocation, six-hundred million is devoted to the environmental justice thriving communities grant-making program which has shown serious signs of waste, fraud, and abuse. More alarmingly, some of this money has been designated for groups opposed to the interests of the United States and her allies.”

“Administrator Regan, environmental justice grantees have partners and affiliates who also receive funds from the EPA. Are any of these groups or affiliates who receive this money anti-American?”

Administrator Regan: “Not that I’m aware of.”

Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) warned that the EPA is moving forward with its costly Clean Power Plan 2.0 that will impair grid reliability.

Chairman Comer: “Is there ever any thought by the EPA when a rule is administered as to what the cost will be not only to the industry or the private business, but to the consumer?”

Administrator Regan: “We do, and in this situation, Chairman Comer, we were petitioned to take a look at and begin to develop a regulation for this specific industry. That’s the process that we’re going through. We didn’t raise our hand and voluntarily say let’s go do this. We were petitioned, by law we have to respond to these petitions. And now we’re looking at the wastewater discharge from some of these facilities. I want to let you know that I’ve instructed my team to engage with the industry, to engage with everyone who is familiar with this industry, because if we do anything, we want to do it correctly.”

Chairman Comer: “Administrator, every sector of our economy relies on access to affordable and reliable power supplies. And electricity demand is expected to only increase over time. Unfortunately, recent actions taken by the Biden Administration cast doubt on the future of electricity supplies that we often take for granted. EPA’s Clean Power 2.0 would set even more stringent emissions standards for existing coal and natural gas fired power plants. […]

Chairman Comer: “Administrator Reagan, if over ninety percent of Kentucky’s power producers are forced to adopt technologies like CCS or Hydrogen co-firing, how would this impact the price and reliability of electricity for consumers in states like Kentucky?”

Administrator Reagan: “First of all, I would like to say that as a former state regulator who had to design these state implementation plans, we have definitely kept that at top of mind. There is flexibility in this program that the states and we will take advantage of to make sure that the states can meet this goal.”

Chairman Comer: “Why is EPA pushing a costly rule that will reduce the amount of additional power generation when more power generation needs to be brought online to meet increasing needs across the country? […] Why would EPA push this rule if, take away the cost, but the demand for more energy I dont think it’s going to achieve that.”

Administrator Reagan: “We think it can. And with that demand, we think we’ll get more, cleaner energy.”

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas.) discussed the EPA’s formaldehyde recommendation of eleven parts per billion, which has been opposed by the EPA’s own review board.

Rep. Sessions: “Are you aware that the air outside this building and the air in this room is naturally occurring with formaldehyde?”

Administrator Regan: “I can’t speak to the…”

Rep. Sessions: “Well, you’re the head of the EPA. If you don’t know that formaldehyde is everywhere as we breathe it, not only in this building but outside, I’ll tell you the answer is yes.”

Rep. Sessions: “Are you aware that the Human Studies Review Board known as HSRB opposed and had problems with the recommendation of eleven parts per billion that is now being codified into your rules and regulations? Were you aware that they had problems with eleven parts per billion?”

Administrator Regan: “I was not aware.”

Rep. Sessions: “Are you, gentleman, aware that the permissible parts per billion is 750 parts per billion under OSHA for exposure limit for formaldehyde?”

Administrator Regan: “Congressman Sessions, for the types of questions you are asking we have experts…”

Rep. Sessions: “They are very direct. You are the head of this organization and you have proposed taking to eleven parts per billion. You showed up here and you talked about fairness, cost effective solutions, pragmatic, scientific-based, and yet within your own boards that provide you with data and information, they have said that eleven parts per billion is well out of line and cannot even be measured.”

Click here to watch the full hearing.

READ MORE: Comer Opens Hearing on Oversight of the EPA