The House on Friday approved legislation that would set up an interagency committee charged with assessing the impact of Environmental Protection Agency rules on U.S. economic competitiveness, and also delay two EPA rules until that analysis is complete.
Democrats railed against the bill throughout debate on Thursday and Friday, saying it represents the latest attempt by Republicans to advance an anti-environment agenda. But Republicans said the bill would not block any rule indefinitely, and that some economic assessment of EPA rules is needed in light of the increasing frequency of these rules under the Obama administration.
The partisan split over the so-called TRAIN Act — Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation, H.R. 2401 — was seen in the 249-169 mostly party-line vote for the bill. It was supported by 19 Democrats, some of whom come from coal-producing states that have recoiled against various environmental rules.
Among its other potential dangers, this bill would indefinitely delay two critical clean air standards -- the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.
We need these two standards to reduce the pollution spewed from power plants, including mercury, soot, cancer-causing dioxins and acid gases.
Every year these important safeguards are delayed, Americans will suffer up to 25,300 premature deaths due to toxic air pollution–and once again, they could be delayed indefinitely. Delaying the standards will also cause tens of thousands more heart attacks, asthma attacks and hospital stays.
Fortunately for us, this looks like more of the usual kabuki governance we've grown used to from the House GOP. The bill is already dead-on-arrival in the Senate and in the unlikely event that space aliens steal Harry Reid's brain, the president has threatened to veto it. So yet another day wasted on a nasty, destructive piece of legislation whose only purpose is to allow Republicans to demonstrate their fealty to their corporate masters.