Environment Local News

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill tomorrow that would change the way the Clean Air Act is administered.

The bill is called TRAIN for short—the long name is the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011. TRAIN began as a bill to require analysis of the cumulative effect of upcoming environmental regulations, but various amendments, including one by Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield, have changed it into a bill that would delay air pollution regulations, some for years, some indefinitely.

Isaac Shapiro of the non-profit non-partisan Economic Policy Institute published a study of the clean air rules earlier this week, and found:

“In combination, the compliance cost from the Obama proposals is really a small sliver of the economy,” he said. “The total compliance cost from the Obama EPA rules amounts to only 0.1 percent of the economy and that’s a proportion that the economy can readily absorb.”

Shapiro’s analysis says the rules will save millions—or in some cases, tens of millions—of dollars, mostly in reduced health care costs and fewer missed work days. From a purely economic perspective, he says the rules are worth it. And in the case of most of the rules the bill is seeking to delay, Shapiro says they’ve already gone through years of study and analysis.

“It’s the outcome of a very open, transparent, intense process that has to take into account the views of both opponents and proponents of the regulation. So after all this has been done, they’re asking for further delay in this TRAIN legislation and I think that’s inappropriate.”

The bill has 45 co-sponsors, including Kentucky Congressman Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers and Ed Whitfield. President Obama has threatened to veto the legislation.