Rep. John Sullivan, an Oklahoma congressman, introduced and was able to pass, H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011, which he says will save jobs. The bill is being called, by those that appose it, the ‘Train Wreck Act’, it takes aim at the EPA and the Clear Air Act.
The bill will indefinitely delay two clear air standards- the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. These standards help reduce pollution such as; mercury, dioxins, and acid gases, from power plants. Environmental groups say delaying these standards will do great harm to American’s health.
“Every year these important safeguards are delayed, Americans will suffer up to 25,300 premature deaths due to toxic air pollution–and once again, they could be delayed indefinitely. Delaying the standards will also cause tens of thousands more heart attacks, asthma attacks and hospital stays,” says the Environmental Defense Action Fund.
Supporters of the bill say it will help the economy but the EPA recently estimated that cutting pollution through the Clear Air Act will save around $2 trillion between 1990 and 2020.
Just yesterday Republican Rep. Rob Bishop took to the floor of the House to defend the TRAIN Act but much of what he said was untrue. Rep. Bishop said that it was just a “study bill” and that it “doesn’t stop [any] rulemaking, doesn’t stop any rule.” The Natural Defense Council was quick to correct this misrepresentation of the bill.
“This is untrue. Section 5 of the bill, entitled “Regulatory Deferral of Certain Rules,” repeals the already adopted cross-state smog and soot standards for power plants. It further prohibits final adoption of the mercury and air toxics standards for power plants, due by court order this November.
The bill imposes a minimum period of delay to the smog and soot standards, and mercury and air toxics standards, of 19 and 15 months, respectively. This allows up to 33,450 premature deaths that these standards otherwise would prevent during this period.
Supporters of the bill want us to believe we must choose between clean air and jobs but this is not the case. We can have both and we must have both. America can lead the world in a cleaner and healthy future. Please contact your senator today and tell them to vote no on the TRAIN Act and to support clean air.
About the Author
Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.
Photo Credit: roy.luck