WSJ Cheers For Train Wreck To Block Clean Air Protections

Blog ››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

A Wall Street Journal editorial endorses House Republicans' TRAIN Act [Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation], which would delay two Clean Air regulations and create a committee to report on potential economic costs of certain EPA rules. The Journal claims the legislation "would help expose some of the true costs that the agency is trying to hide."

Who's hiding? The EPA is already required to conduct economic analyses for significant regulation, and the Office of Management and Budget also reviews the costs and benefits of the rules. The Journal claims that these analyses are not sufficient because they do not consider the "broad[er]" or "more tangible" economic costs. In fact, the Congressional Research Service states that in "past experience," costs of regulation have not been "as great as they are projected to be" by EPA.

The Journal never mentions that the act would cost $4 million dollars for an analysis that environmental organizations say is redundant. The act offsets these costs by cutting funding in half for EPA's program to reduce diesel emissions -- a program that has enjoyed bipartisan support due to its success. Furthermore, the Coalition of Sensible Safeguards, which is composed of consumer, worker, health, and environmental organizations, argues that the TRAIN Act's requirement to determine the regulations' effect on energy costs is "impossible" due to "unforeseeable variables" making the TRAIN Act analysis not only "meaningless, but also deceptive."

But the Journal isn't interested in debating the merits of the policy, it's interested in personally attacking EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who the Journal claims has a "grandiose view" of her job. In fact, the title of the editorial is "The Cost of Lisa Jackson." It's telling that the authors cannot mount a substantive rebuttal to her point: EPA regulations issued under the Clean Air Act have provided trillions of dollars in economic benefits through preventing health problems and premature deaths, and these benefits dwarf implementation costs.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Government, Cabinet & Agencies
Wall Street Journal
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