Greens say House bill would destroy pollution rules

What is the U.S government doing to stop air pollution?

Greens say House bill would destroy pollution rules

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:42 pm

Greens say House bill would destroy pollution rules

By Timothy Cama - 01/13/15 12:35 PM EST

Environmental groups say a House bill aimed at reining in regulatory costs would hamper the government’s ability to fight pollution.

The Regulatory Accountability Act, on which the House will vote as soon as today, would gut the Clean Air Act by mandating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to weigh the costs of stopping pollution against the health benefits, greens said.

It would also add scores of new requirements for federal agencies when writing new regulations, which would reduce the government’s ability to implement new rules.

“Counter to the claims of its proponents, this bill further complicates the current rulemaking process,” League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski wrote in a “dear colleague” letter to members of the House.

“It would add more than sixty new analytical and procedural requirements for already resource-strapped agencies that will only serve to further delay the rulemaking process,” he said.

The bill would also require that agencies adopt only the least costly regulatory alternatives, which is currently in the Toxic Substances Control Act and has rendered it “useless,” Karpinski said.

John Walke, clean air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said the law would be particularly harmful to the Clean Air Act.

That law currently requires the EPA to set air quality standards based only on what is necessary to protect public health, and the EPA can only take cost into account when enforcing the rules.

But the Regulatory Accountability Act would mandate that the EPA weigh the costs and benefits of air standards, Walke said in a blog post.

“The Regulatory Accountability Act would take away this right and eliminate the Clean Air Act's health centerpiece,” Walke wrote. “The bill does so by directing that EPA shall consider cleanup costs by polluting industries when defining clean air and telling Americans whether the air is safe.”

But business groups welcomed the bill and encouraged its passage.

“A smarter regulatory system that engages affected parties earlier in the process, improves the quality of information relied upon by federal agencies and better estimates the costs and benefits of potential regulations will help promote business investment, innovation and job creation,” Andrew Liveris, head of Dow Chemical Co. and chairman of the Business Roundtable, said in a statement.

The American Chemistry Council said the bill would provide some relief from the billions of dollars of upcoming regulations its industry is facing.

“America’s chemistry industry is making a major contribution to economic recovery, with more than $136 billion in new U.S. investment planned or underway,” the group wrote to lawmakers with various other interest groups.

“Yet we face a flawed regulatory process that adds substantial costs, complexity and uncertainty to projects. The Regulatory Accountability Act is an important step toward common-sense, cost-effective rules and a clearer, more transparent process.”

President Obama said Monday that he would veto the bill if the House and Senate pass it.

source ... tion-rules

Stewart wants to take science out of the science board

Tuesday , January 13, 2015 - 5:26 PM

Guest Commentary

Several weeks ago, Congressman Chris Stewart sponsored a bill to change the rules for appointing Science Advisory Board members. The advisory board is tasked with reviewing scientific information and providing advice to the EPA, which in turn establishes regulations that protect public health and the environment.

Stewart’s bill (HR 1422) would add more industrial representatives to the board, while forbidding experts in environmental fields from using their own, peer-reviewed research. The bill would effectively take the science out of the Science Advisory Board while stacking its numbers with industry. Stewart claims he’s proposing this change to improve the transparency and enhance public participation, but the net result of his efforts would be to limit the input of independent scientists while promoting the viewpoints of paid, industrial employees.

Congressman Stewart's bill would silence scientists while handing a loudspeaker to industrial representatives hostile to the EPA. That academic scientists, beholden only to their independent research institutions and subject to the checks and balances of peer-reviewed research, would have their voices muted, while experts paid by corporations who openly lobby to block EPA regulations would have their voices amplified, is a cynical attack on a government body working to protect public health and safety.

An inconvenient truth for Stewart, however, is that Utah benefits enormously from the EPA’s regulations.

The agency has established regulations that control air toxins and auto emissions, banned DDT, protected the ozone layer, restored polluted rivers and lakes, and cleaned up countless toxic waste sites.

Those of us living along the Wasatch Front should be particularly grateful to the EPA for its efforts and wary of Stewart's attempt to hamstring its work. Plagued by the lung-busting air that settles into the valley every winter, it is the EPA's regulations that are our best shot at beating back vehicular emissions.

In fact, the biggest environmental improvements on the horizon for Utahns suffering from poor air quality are the EPA's proposed Tier 3 rules on cars and gasoline. Instituting Tier 3 will reduce the sulfur content of gas by two-thirds as well as require stringent pollution control systems in new vehicles. All of this can be accomplished while only raising the cost of new, cleaner cars by around $150. Tier 3 alone will reduce vehicle emissions by 30-40%.

If Stewart and other Congressional supporters of HR 1412 succeed, however, this regulation—and other protections—would be weakened, delayed, and possibly never even introduced.

That’s because industry, especially polluting industry, likes business as usual. What they don't like is a regulatory body with teeth that's capable of and willing to protect public health standing in their way. Polluting industries instead want to force families to subsidize industry’s harmful practices with their wallets, their lungs, their bloodstreams, and the health of their children.

If Stewart and his corporate supporters have their way—all the more likely with this week's swearing in of the most industry-friendly Congress since 1929—the EPA would be forced to make decisions based not on science and public health, but industry preference.

HR 1422 threatens the very integrity of science, and the health of our future. It is saddening that Utah’s own Congressman is working so diligently to cripple an agency that has protected us so well.

We must preserve the integrity of scientific processes and work against malicious political efforts such as Stewart's so that the EPA can continue doing its most critical job: safeguarding the health of our loved ones.

Eliza Lyons is a recent graduate of Weber State University with degrees in zoology and environmental science.

source ... board.html
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