WASHINGTON, D.C.-U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) wants federal agencies to consider the potential impacts to small businesses and job growth before imposing new rules and regulations. At a hearing today of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Collins advocated for her "Clearing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens" bill or CURB Act, which would require the federal government to analyze the indirect costs of regulations, such as the impact on job creation, the cost of energy, and consumer prices. The CURB Act would also prevent agencies from imposing unofficial rules masked as "guidance," and provide relief from onerous penalties for small businesses facing first-time paperwork violations that do not result in any harm.

Senator Collins is the Ranking Republican member of the Committee.

Senator Collins used as an example of onerous regulation the "Boiler MACT" rules. These rules, as originally proposed, would have cost Maine businesses $640 million, despite the availability of less costly approaches to address boiler emissions. These proposed rules also pit two agencies directly against each other. The Department of Energy, for example, had recently awarded a Maine high school a $300,000 grant to help buy a new wood pellet boiler to reduce the school’s use of fossil fuels. But because the EPA’s proposed regulations would have greatly increased the cost of that boiler, the school board turned down the federal grant.

"Small businesses are our job creators. In the last decade, America’s small businesses have created about 70 percent of all new jobs. We simply must target our efforts toward helping these businesses start-up, grow, and prosper," said Senator Collins. "Far too often, Congress directs federal policies toward those businesses deemed too big to fail. Instead, we must redirect our efforts toward those small businesses that are too entrepreneurial to ignore, and we must ensure that federal regulations do not impose unnecessary burdens that hamper job creation.

"I believe we can build a bipartisan consensus to pass a bill that will reform and reduce regulation. There are many good ideas in Congress about how the regulatory burdens on our economy-especially on job creation and productivity -might be lightened or simplified, without diminishing important safety and health protections."