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REINS Act Is Priority for Electric Utility Industry, Lobbying Records Show
Contrary to Claims, Bill to Undermine the Nation’s Regulatory System Is Not Being Pushed to Benefit Small Businesses
WASHINGTON - August 9 - Although congressional proponents of the Republicans’ signature anti-regulatory measure claim that it is designed to help small businesses, lobbying records indicate that it stands to have the most impact on the electric utility industry, a new Public Citizen analysis shows.
Lobbying disclosure records show that the electric utility industry has weighed in on the REINS Act far more than any other industry. The 27 organizations that reported lobbying on the act in the first half of 2011 include 16 electric utilities and the Edison Electric Institute, the industry’s chief trade association.
Formally named the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, H.R.10 was introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.). It would require congressional approval of all major federal rules within 70 legislative days. Without approval, the rules would be tabled until the next Congress. If enacted, the bill will mire these rules in congressional gridlock and undermine the nation’s system of health, safety, financial and environmental safeguards, Public Citizen maintains.
REINS could significantly benefit electric utilities, which have strenuously objected to many rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The REINS Act should be called the Rewarding Energy Industry, Not Small Business Act,” said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “Assuming that industries’ lobbying budgets reflect their priorities, it is clear that the REINS Act is a significant priority for electric utilities, not for small businesses.”
“After the BP oil spill disaster, the Massey mine explosion and the 2008 crash of Wall Street, the last thing we need is to hamstring federal agencies that are working to protect people from the effects of corporate greed,” said Lisa Gilbert, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “The REINS Act would undermine the ability of agencies to keep our air and water clean, our workplaces safe and our financial system sound. When it comes to protection, the public deserves better."