The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011 recently passed the U.S. House. This bill requires the President to establish the Committee for the Cumulative Analysis of Regulations that Impact Energy and Manufacturing in the United States to analyze and report on the cumulative impacts of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and actions concerning air, waste, water, and climate change.
Sounds sensible, right? Wrong!
This bill delays or scraps an array of current regulatory actions, turning back decades of progress on addressing environmental health protections. This bill attacks the Clean Air Act by rolling back EPA regulations on ozone, fine particulates and hazardous pollutants like mercury. The bill requires consideration of the effects of regulation on business growth, while effects on public health are secondary. Thousands more deaths and hundreds of thousands more childhood asthma attacks will occur each year as a result of failure to reduce air pollution.
Attacks like this on environmental protections not only undermine the crucial work of the EPA, but the basic principle of government’s role in protecting public health from environmental threats. Rep. Henry Waxman (CA) calls the current U.S. House “the most anti-environment House in history. The House has voted to block action to address climate change, to stop actions to prevent air and water pollution, to undermine protections for public lands and coastal areas, and to weaken the protection of the environment in dozens of other ways."
This bill is based on the assumption that environmental regulations are bad for business. We must challenge this assumption. Regulatory certainty, improved quality of our environment and reduced health care costs all support a healthy business climate.
Unfortunately, Minnesota Representatives Paulsen, Cravaack, Kline and Peterson voted for the bill.
The good news is that representatives Ellison, Walz and McCollum all voted against TRAIN. Rep. McCollum’s amendment to protect the Great Lakes from toxic air and water pollution was defeated. Rep McCollum argued, "The TRAIN Act will make the enforcement of many environmental protections uncertain and will create confusion in the EPA about which public health efforts they can pursue.”
Please thank Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Keith Ellison for putting public health first and voting against this bill and urge Senators Klobuchar and Franken to help defeat TRAIN in the Senate. Help send this TRAIN back to the station!