Romney wobbly on EPA: Ducks question about air rules stayed by Court

Memo to Mitt: If it’s not knee-jerk by now to reject Obama EPA regulation, then you’re not ready to be President in 2013.

From The Hill:

All the GOP White House candidates have made EPA a punching bag, but things can get trickier when it comes to specific policies.

On Sunday frontrunner Mitt Romney avoided saying whether he backs a major new EPA rule to limit power plant pollution that blows eastward across states lines, but also noted that he backs the goal of the regulation.

“I am not familiar with the specific regulation as it applies to New Hampshire, but I do believe we have a responsibility to keep the air clean and we have to find ways to ensure that we don’t have the pollution of one state overwhelming the ability of another state to have clean air,” Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said Sunday morning during the Facebook/NBC News debate ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

Romney made the comment when asked whether EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule represents “fair regulation” or “overregulation.” The rule finalized last year mandates new limits on power plant emissions that generate smog and particulate pollution in the eastern half of the country.

It has come under attack from many Republicans, and the House voted last year to scuttle the measure. But separate plans to kill the rule failed in the Senate in November, when lawmakers thwarted Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) resolution to overturn the regulation.

The six Republicans who opposed Paul’s plan included four from New England: Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), and Olympia Snowe (Maine).

Romney, on Sunday, used the question about the rule to tout his support for the continued expansion of U.S. natural gas production.

“If we want to help people in New England have not only homes and businesses that emit less pollutants into the air, and therefore we would have cleaner air and also have lower-cost energy, let’s build out this natural gas system so that we can take advantage of that new, enormous source of American economic strength,” Romney said.

Even the EPA-friendly DC Circuit Court of Appeals has placed a hold on these rules.

UPDATE: Here’s the transcript of Romney’s remarks:

JOHN DISTASO: Great, for Governor Romney, I’m gonna stay with you for one moment here. On the– talking about regulation. One of your prime, New Hampshire supports, Senator Kelly Ayotte, has said, quote, “New Hampshire should not be the tailpipe for pollutants from out of state power plants.” Many Senate Republicans attacked an EPA rule limiting air pollution that affects downwind states. But she and others, including Scott Brown, joined with the president and Senate Democrats to block a repeal effort. Now is this an example, this cross-state air pollution rule, of fair regulation? Something that we in the Northeast are very concerned about, in terms of– pollution? Or is this over-regulation, job-killing over-regulation?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I’m not– I’m not familiar with this specific regulation, as it– as it applies to– to New Hampshire, but I do believe that we have a responsibility to keep the air clean. And we have to find ways to assure that we don’t have the pollution of one state overwhelming the– the– ability of another state to have clean air. I know in my state of Massachusetts, we– we receive a lot of air from the rest of the country, obviously, given the winds coming from the West of the country to the East.

And so the responsibility in our state, was to get the cost– get the– the emissions from our power plants down. That’s one of the reasons why we moved to natural gas. And– and really, by the way, this– this discussion about energy and security and getting the cost of gasoline down. The– the big opportunity here is not just a new oil distribution system, but it’s natural gas.

We have massive new natural gas reserves that have been found in Pennsylvania, in– in North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas. Natural gas cheap, a fraction of the cost per BTU of– of oil. If we want to help people in New England have– not only homes and businesses that emit less pollutant into the air, and therefore would have cleaner air, and also have lower-cost energy, it’s let’s build out this natural gas system so that we can take advantage of that new enormous source of American economic strength.

3 thoughts on “Romney wobbly on EPA: Ducks question about air rules stayed by Court”

  1. It is reasonable to be hesitant my friends. The EPA has its excesses, but we don’t want to cycle back to the bad old days. Full abolition of all environmental regulations is the wrong direction as well. It is ALWAYS bad to knee-jerk against something. If Romney is hesitant to condemn it because he hasn’t researched it thoroughly, I applaud him for restraint, something very lacking in todays politicians.

    However, I do fault Romney for not being up on major legal issues of the administration. This is a major issue with a number of states, and he should at least know enough to give an up or down at this point. Even if he has a nuanced approach and said “this is too complicated to discuss in a sound byte. Please see my web site” it would be better than this non-answer.

  2. Dear Mitt: You’re NOT READY for the Presidency, if you’re going to go along with the EPA, –a corrupt, criminal organ, imo. –‘Typical moderate, you think you can have-it all ways, but you REALLY end-up an Apparachek of the Bilderbergers, who TOLD Nobama AND Hillary (–having slipped their press entourages,–never before/since), at their 2008 Virginia meeting, to CRASH the Economy via the EPA, which, HAS been happening! I COULD ask you if, in supporting the EPA, you are a TRAITOR?!, but… I won’t? Being RICH, you don’t CARE what the costs are to the REST of us, if our jobs are involved in coal, which Red China still wants, so we can USE it to pay-down our debt, in addition to heating our homes in the NE, so our pipes don’t burst/children develope Pneumonia from an un-heated dwelling. Of course, you can’t SAY you’re a Bilderberger IF you ARE one, but if you ARE one (–or CFR, or Tri-lateral), you are AGAINST the strict interpetation of the US Constitution, Moreover, you are AGAINST the very IDEA of the US as it stood during your Father’s lifetime, and therefore, are UN-SUITED for the Presidency, or anywhere ELSE in govt.–except maybe the EPA… Of late, the EPA has become a “personal play-thing” of Climate-Fraudsters like ALGORE. Sir, Are you wedded to the notion of increasing the Plutocracy with ALGORE, via Carbon-credit-fraud-schemes, paid-for, on the backs of the US consumer? Just as I HOPE there’s “no room” for ALGORE, I HOPE there’s “no room” in a Romney Administration, for the agency that was a captive-mouthpiece, of the “$earch for ALGORE-BILLION$”, –the economy-killing EPA, and ANY extension of its Hitlerian policies. REGULATIONS constitute… a REAL, HIDDEN, TAX… on business and person, INHIBITING the Recovery… you CLAIM you wish to advance… if Nominated…and then elected.

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