Talk About a TRAIN Wreck

| Fri Sep. 23, 2011 10:37 AM EDT

The House is poised to vote on yet another attempt to block Environmental Protection Agency regulations. This latest attempt is the "Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation"—or the "TRAIN Act"—which would create a committee to evaluate the economic impacts of a litany of environmental rules. The premise, of course, is that EPA rules are killing jobs rather than, you know, preventing polluters form killing people. The upshot is that this is a bill with a cute acronym that seeks to tell a regulatory agency not to do its job.

Given this, a bunch of environmental and public health groups were rather surprised to see their names listed in a press release last night as "supporters" of the TRAIN Act. The press release, from Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee, touted 108 supporters of the bill, including groups like Clean Air Watch, the Earth Day Coalition, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "Over 100 Groups Voice Support for TRAIN Act," said the release headline.

Shortly after the release went out, Frank O'Donnell, head of Clean Air Watch, sent a note to reporters last night clarifying that the group did not in fact support "the mother of all dirty-air bills." An hour and 40 minutes later, the committee issued a correction, with a headline that now only claimed "strong" support for the act. The list had shrunk significantly—now down to just 53 groups. Opps.

Anyway, the TRAIN Act probably still merits some attention. It will probably pass in the House but go nowhere in the Senate, but it's a good reminder of what Congressional Republicans would like to do if they had full control of Congress and the White House right now.

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