Current Attacks on Environmental Regulation

HR 5 Regulatory Accountability Act – Passed House

  • Increases burdens on regulatory agencies

S-21 Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017 – Passed House

  • Congressional approval of rules costing > $100M
  • If Congress fails to act in 70 days, rule is null/void

S 34 Midnight Rules Relief Act – Passed House

  • Allows Congress to repeal all rules finalized since May 2016 in a single vote

Call EPA Director Scott Pruitt: 202-564-4700


Additional Details

Federal Budget

e.g., proposed cuts to EPA budget of 20 – 25%, on top of sequestration already done by Congress in 2013. House and Senate debate the Federal budget from Feb. to Sept., so this is the best time for us to influence MoC’s.

Clean Water Act/Clean Water Rule

The Clean Water Rule (CWR), finalized in 2015, clarified which types of waters are covered under the Clean Water Act. This includes small streams (which contribute to larger bodies of water that are sources of drinking water, places for swimming and fishing) and wetlands (which act as filters and mitigate flooding).

  • The CWR is not currently in effect due to pending court challenges and there are bills currently in Congress to do away with it.

Clean Power Plan (CPP)

In 2007, the EPA was directed by the Supreme Court to decide whether CO2 was a pollutant that should be regulated under the Clean Air Act. EPA said yes, it is, and created the CPP, which sets standards for power plants (oil-fired, coal-fired, some natural gas), which produce 31% of U.S. carbon emissions.

  • The goal is to reduce emissions of CO2, SO2, and NO.
  • Each state is required to submit a plan to the EPA for approval.
  • The CPP is not currently in effect due to a pending court challenge.

NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act)

Enacted in 1970, requires that federal agencies prepare reports on the potential environmental effects of proposed actions (environmental impact statements or EISs). Current threats:

  • bills in Congress to delegate everything to the states and eliminate federal oversight
  • efforts to eliminate EPA oversight of projects
  • efforts to weaken NEPA