May 16, 2017
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Re: Oppose S. 951, S.34, S.21 – Radical Attacks on New Public Health and Environmental Safeguards in the Guise of “Regulatory Reform”
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national priorities. Each year, the LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of congress on environmental legislation. The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media.
LCV urges you to vote NO on S.951, the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), S.34, the Midnight Rules Relief Act, and S.21, the REINS Act – a trio of extreme legislation that would cripple the ability of federal agencies to develop new safeguards that protect public health and the environment. These bills have sweeping impacts and are simply backdoor attempts to block new public protections, including those that would reduce carbon pollution, clean up our drinking water, and protect the air we breathe.
S.951, the RAA, would add massive analytical burdens to the already lengthy process that agencies go through for developing new safeguards and regulations. It would also create endless opportunities to slow the regulatory process through legal challenges, shifting the balance of power to deep-pocketed corporate interests who oppose new safeguards. For example, this legislation would have made it nearly impossible for the EPA to ban lead in gasoline in the 1970s, and it would greatly hinder efforts to address the current lead drinking water crisis. S.951 would also diminish the role of science and significantly politicize the process for developing new safeguards by giving the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) greatly expanded regulatory authority and sidelining experts in federal agencies.
S.34, the Midnight Rules Relief Act, would allow en bloc disapproval of all regulations finalized in the final year of a presidential term. This bill is based on the unfounded premise that these rules are somehow rushed or not vetted, when in reality these rulemakings are often years in the making and involve extensive public input by the responsible federal agencies. S.34 would allow a multitude of rules to be overturned using an expedited legislative process under the Congressional Review Act that by its design is rushed, lacks transparency, and allows for only limited debate.
S.21, the REINS Act, requires both chambers of Congress to affirmatively approve all significant new public protections within a limited period before they take effect. New safeguards could thus be blocked simply if one chamber of Congress fails to act. S.21 also hinders the process for developing new safeguards by preventing Congress from considering more than one rule relating to the same subject in a single Congress. This radical legislation would block federal agencies from being able to do their job, would significantly threaten public health and the environment, and is simply a tool for polluters to scuttle new health and environmental safeguards.
We urge you to REJECT S.951, S. 34, and S. 21 – three extreme bills that would dramatically weaken the ability of federal agencies to develop new safeguards that ensure clean water, clean air, and protect public health. We also urge you to oppose any legislation that remotely resembles any of these bills. LCV will strongly consider including votes on these bills in the 2017 Scorecard. If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government relations team.