Bill Burdening EPA Would Derail Public Health and the Economy

Today, a House energy panel will hold a hearing on the TRAIN Act. The TRAIN Act has nothing to do with locomotives. It is actually the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011.

The TRAIN Act is a ridiculous piece of legislation, not only for its name, but because it completely ignores the benefits of regulation, which studies consistently show are worth the costs. The TRAIN Act would create a closed committee of cabinet secretaries and other high-level officials to scrutinize the impact of Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the economy. Only EPA rules are covered. The committee’s review, which would be in addition to the internal reviews EPA already performs and the review conducted by the Office of Management and Budget, would delay public health and environmental standards while giving polluters yet another audience for its anti-regulatory lobbying. Even the most beneficial rules would be unable to escape the committee’s clutches.

In testimony, University of Maryland law professor and Center for Progressive Reform President Rena Steinzor highlights the benefits of regulation, and the benefits of EPA regulations in particular. Steinzor identifies several EPA rules with extraordinary benefits. According to Steinzor’s testimony (based on EPA estimates):

  • EPA’s proposed Interstate Transport Rule would save up to 36,000 lives and yield benefits of up to $290 billion while imposing costs of only about $2 billion.
  • Proposed new standards for ozone would save up to 22,200 lives, lead to as many as 600,000 fewer lost days of work and 3.7 million school absences.
  • A new EPA rule for industrial boilers will save up to 6,500 lives and yield benefits of up to $54 billion while imposing costs of only $1.5 billion.
  • Proposed standards limiting toxic emissions from utilities would lead to 17,000 fewer deaths and 11,000 fewer heart attacks, with monetized benefits up to $140 billion and costs at about $11 billion. 

Download Steinzor’s testimony here.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun a war on the American standard of living. During the past couple of years, the Agency has undertaken the most expansive regulatory assault in history on the production and distribution of affordable and reliable energy. As of 2010, EPA regulations promulgated under the Obama Administration had already surpassed the Agency’s regulatory output in the entire first term of Bill Clinton, which, as the Wall Street Journal notes, was a period in which “the EPA had just been handed broad new powers” under the 1990 revisions to the Clean Air Act. With 30 major regulations and more than 170 policy rules still being finalized in the next five years, the extent of EPA actions could surpass its entire 40- year history of regulation