Vital EPA standards to protect the public’s health suffered yet another assault in Congress—this time from the Senate side. Senator Susan Collins (R – Maine) announced her latest bill Tuesday, the Regulatory Time-Out Act, which mandates a year-long moratorium on all new federal standards.
This ban includes virtually all of the EPA standards currently under works—from the Cross-State Air Pollution rule, which is aimed at preventing states from becoming the “tailpipe” to neighboring states’ air pollution, to protective standards that prevent coal ash waste from contaminating drinking water and public waterways with lead, cadmium, arsenic, and other less-than-appetizing toxins.
In her announcement, Senator Collins personally pointed to the bill’s postponement of the EPA’s Boiler MACT Rule, which is scheduled to be unveiled in April 2012. The Boiler MACT rule is needed to curb cancer-causing dioxins and mercury (which has devastating impacts on children’s developing brains) that spew from industrial boilers and incinerators. The EPA estimates that from this one rule alone 6,500 premature deaths could be prevented each year.
Senator Collins was careful to point out that her bill exempts some regulations required to deal with emergencies, such as threats to public and safety. Yet, if a rule intended to save thousands of lives each year isn’t necessary for the sake of public safety—what is?