5/26/2017: This post has been updated to reflect the advancement of the RAA.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed EPA’s important role in creating environmental safeguards in the form of federal regulations, and how the Trump Administration’s effort to “cut the red tape” caters to industry’s desire to increase profits at our expense. Unfortunately, Congress is also caving to the lobbying of corporations and trade associations. While the Executive Branch works to roll back regulations, some members of Congress are working on bills that would make it much harder for agencies to create new protective regulations in the future.
One of these bills is S. 951, the “Regulatory Accountability Act” (RAA), and is marketed by its sponsors, Senators Heitkamp and Portman, as a way to make the regulatory process more effective, streamlined and accountable to the public. In reality, it will have the exact opposite effect.
The RAA would give industry an even bigger influence than it already has in Washington, D.C. by forcing agencies to prioritize minimizing industry costs over providing essential public health and environmental protections. The RAA would also massively complicate agencies’ processes to create and finalize regulations – wasting time and taxpayer money. This means it would take even longer for agencies to put new safeguards in place, and may even mean they decide not to take action on important issues. The added requirements in the bill also provide more opportunities for industry to slow down or stop new regulations.
In sum, the goal of the RAA is simple – to protect industry profits from essential public health and environmental regulations. It would hijack the regulatory process, put industry in the driver’s seat and hamstring agencies’ ability to protect the American public.
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs advanced the RAA and a number of other bad bills that would skew the regulatory process in favour of protecting profits over people and the environment. These bills could be coming up for a vote in the Senate as early as the week of June 5th. Before this happens, we urge you to call your Senators and let them know that you want the regulatory process to work for the people, not corporate profits.
Please call your Senators and say:
“My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of ZIP code [ZIP CODE]. I am calling today because I am concerned about proposed bills that would make it harder for agencies to make regulations. Regulations are more than needless paperwork or red tape – they are safeguards to protect the public. I know that bills on the process of making regulations could be coming up for a vote in the Senate in the coming weeks. Many of these bills would make it harder for agencies to do their jobs, which is to protect the American people. I am especially concerned about S. 951, the “Regulatory Accountability Act.” This bill prioritizes protecting industry profits over protecting people, and would waste taxpayer money by making agencies jump through needless hoops. I urge you to oppose S.951 and any other bills that would make it harder for agencies to do their jobs.”