Americans Did Not Vote for Dirty Air and Polluted Water, But Congress Isn’t Listening

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Americans Did Not Vote for Dirty Air and Polluted Water, But Congress Isn’t Listening

WASHINGTON - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to take up a slurry bills this week aimed at stripping away vital clean air and water protections that safeguard public health. Examples include the Midnight Rules Act and the REINS Act, which are thinly-veiled attempts to give the allies of polluters in Congress an easy pathway to gut existing clean air and water protections and stop important, science-based health protections from being developed.

The Midnight Rules Act would amend the Congressional Review Act to enable Congress to bundle numerous rules completed in the final months of an administration into a single vote for disapproval. Once Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval on a bundle of rules, an agency may not adopt subsequent similar rules without express authorization by Congress.

The REINS Act would delay or shut down the development of critical new health and safety protections, obstructing actions that Congress has already mandated by law. It will also effectively shut down the oversight system that protects the public’s health and safety in favor of inaction that pads polluter profits.

In response, Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club’s Legislative Director, released the following statement:

“These dangerous pieces of legislation are one of the most egregious displays of political kowtowing to big polluters industries ever seen - and when considering previous efforts by many House Republicans over the years to kiss the ring of fossil fuel interests, that’s really saying something.

“The process of crafting the safeguards that protect our air, water, and families is supposed to be governed by science and technical expertise, but these bills would ensure that it would all be driven by politics. These extreme bills would empower those politicians who spend every waking hour pushing the agenda of the fossil fuel industry to be able to derail any and all protections meant to protect public health and the environment.

“American families did not vote for more childhood asthma attacks or brown drinking water, but these bills would give them just that. Passing these bills will present a clear threat to public health now and into the future, and we’ll do everything we can to stop it.”

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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