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Professor Robert Verchick Testifies Before US Senate Budget Committee

Professor Robert Verchick testified at the December 9 meeting of the United States Senate Budget Committee.  The hearing titled “Moving to a Stronger Economy Through Regulatory Budgeting” explored the possibility of capping funding on the enforcement of federal regulations.  During the hearing, Republican Wyoming Senator and committee chairman Mike Enzi said it was vital to understand the cumulative costs and impact of regulations on the economy imposed by federal agencies through new rules. “The EPA’s crusade to keep coal in the ground is already costing hundreds of jobs in my state and will cost this country billions of dollars. This is why our focus continues to be on the dangers that high regulatory burdens pose for our nation’s ability to sustain economic growth and fiscal health.”

Panelists including Professor Verhick, a former EPA official, offered a more moderate perspective on regulatory budgeting.  In his prepared remarks, Professor Verchick said “Regulatory budgeting rations regulatory costs to industry the way a fiscal budget rations taxpayer dollars. Before an agency could issue a new standard relevant to, say, blowout preventers on deep-water oil platforms, or the venting of radiation from a nuclear reactor, an agency might first have to locate an existing regulation with comparable compliance costs and strike it from the books. To make way for protections demanded by new circumstances and new technologies, many long-established safeguards would be put on the chopping block.”

Also present at the hearing were Dr. John Graham of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and Dr. Jerry Ellig of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Professor Verchick currently holds the Gauthier-St. Martin Chair in Environmental Law at Loyola University New Orleans. He is also a Senior Fellow at Tulane University's Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, in the School of Social Work, and a Member Scholar at the Center for Progressive Reform in Washington, D.C. Professor Verchick served in the Obama administration as Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 and 2010. He teaches in the areas of Environmental Law and Land Use, Disaster Law, and Climate Change.

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