Georgia U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss are among Senate Republicans pushing for a one-year moratorium on new federal regulations. They say the new rules will stifle business.
Among the new regulations set to take effect starting this fall is one that would add limits to dust on farms that could be laced with fertilizers. Another would require greater controls for air pollutants, including mercury. Senator Chambliss says paper plants would suffer.
"This is just a devastating blow to the entire paper product industry around the country and particularly in our state, says Chambliss. "They’re obviously in the international marketplace and this would force these folks out of business."
Chambliss says the mercury rule would also raise energy costs by forcing coal plants to install new technology. He is co-sponsoring legislation that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency rules and others.
Environmentalists say companies have had decades to prepare and the rule will encourage investment in renewable energy.
Jeanette Gayer with Environment Georgia sees the moratorium as another example of putting business interests ahead of public health.
"I think the industry is spending a lot of money to influence the President and Congress and this bill is definitely evidence of that to shortchange our health," says Gayer.
In August, President Obama delayed a plan to tighten smog limits.