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Is the EPA really a 'jobs killer'?

For Republicans, the EPA ranks up there with the IRS as one of the most-reviled agencies in Washington, calling it a 'jobs killer.' The record of the Obama EPA, though, is more nuanced.

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Coal is piled beside the W.A. Parish Electric Generating Station in Thompsons, Texas. The EPA’s intent to limit mercury emissions by coal-fired plants will affect Texas significantly because of its many coal-fired power plants.

AP/File

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Newt Gingrich and Michele Bach­mann want to abolish it. Rick Perry vows that he would declare a moratorium on all its activities the moment he becomes president. Herman Cain wants it replaced by an independent commission.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), clearly, is not on many Republicans' Christmas card list. In their debates and in speeches, the GOP presidential candidates have crystallized conservatives' charge against the agency: Its regulations kill jobs.

Under a Democratic president – and at a time of economic turbulence – the EPA faces harsh criticism from the political right for being heavy-handed. But unraveling its actual impact on the economy suggests that its influence is more nuanced, according to several economic analyses.

To be sure, President Obama's EPA has undertaken several key environmental initiatives, such as ozone and greenhouse-gas regulation. But attempts to paint these new rules as economic game changers often overstate their importance, say several independent economists.

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