TRAIN Act is cynical assault on public health
The House of Representatives passed a bill last week, called the TRAIN Act (Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation), which would waste $2 million of taxpayer money by mandating redundant cost-benefit analyses of environmental and health regulations. Where applicable, these analyses are already required by existing laws and in most cases already have been done. The bill is now before the United States Senate.
The TRAIN Act is a colossal waste of money. To mandate that high level officials from virtually every government department complete duplicative analyses of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations is a massive bureaucratic boondoggle.
Let's be real - this is simply a backdoor attempt to delay regulations critical for protecting our health from dangerous industrial pollution, including toxic mercury that can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system, and particulate matter and soot that can enter people's lungs and cause serious health problems, including premature death.
Not only are EPA regulations critical to protect our health, but multiple cost-benefit analyses have shown them to be incredibly cost effective. In its most recent annual report to Congress, the Office of Management and Budget concluded that the benefits of major EPA regulations far exceeded their costs. Between Oct. 1, 2000 and Sept. 30, 2010, estimated total annual benefits ranged from $82 to $551 billion, while costs ranged from $23 to $29 billion.
Such a cynical assault on our health is at direct odds with the best interests of Americans and is a cave-in to industrial polluters. Congress should not pass the TRAIN Act.
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Rachel Cleetus is an economist with the Union of Concerned Scientists.