The Environmental Protection Agency declined to attend today's hearing on the impact of President Obama's Climate Action Plan on small businesses, disappointing those who had hoped for a testimony and Q&A session with the agency.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R - Co.), who chaired the event, called their absence "unfortunate," especially since the EPA "won't listen to small businesses" and has not been meeting its obligation to conduct small business review panels under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). 

"This process not only helps small business understand the potential scope and cost of government regulations, but allows them to actively inform and assist agencies in developing less burdensome alternatives," Tipton said. "Few agencies have done a worse job in meeting their RFA obligations to small business than the EPA."

Several business owners testified about the impact of the plan, particularly its call for new emissions limits. James L. Brown, president of Bremen Castings, expressed concerns about the Climate Action Plan, and how its attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions would affect his business.

"I believe these new rules will cause power plants to close, drive-up power costs for households and businesses across the country, and especially harm manufacturing-heavy states," he told the committee. 

Michael Kezar, general manager of the San Miguel Electric Cooperative, testified that, while the EPA did hold panels with small business representatives on the new limits, it failed to provide them "with any regulatory options, let alone allowing an opportunity for panel members to meaningfully comment on alternatives to lessen economic impacts on small businesses." 

The EPA was not immediately available for comment.