The Republican Party is at it again with repeals that could have devastating consequences for the planet. Since taking office in January, President Donald Trump has been on a warpath to undo the work of the Obama Administration, particularly when it comes to environmental protection. Trump’s current weapon of choice is the rarely used Congressional Review Act (CRA).
Passed in 1996, the CRA allows congress to overturn federal decisions made within the last 60 legislative days. Lawmakers must get a simple majority vote confirming that the regulation is too expensive, goes beyond the agency’s authority, or is too similar to a pre-existing rule. Once a rule has been overturned using the CRA, a similar one cannot be passed in the future.
One of the most recent regulations under attack is the Stream Protection Rule, which was passed to keep coal waste out of waterways. It requires water quality testing near coal mining facilities, among other health and safety regulations.
While Republicans have called it redundant and claim that it will eliminate jobs, many people are concerned about the consequences of rolling it back.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin voiced his concerns on the floor, saying:
“Shame on us if we decide to eliminate this protection for families and run the risk, the very real risk, the pollution in those streams could cause public health issues.”
The House of Representatives also used the CRA to roll back regulations for methane-flaring emissions. This controversial process involves burning gases that are unsafe or uneconomical to store, releasing various chemicals into the air.
A report by the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District measured air quality near methane-flaring sites. They found a host of pollutants that could be directly linked to it, including benzene, formaldehyde, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Only used once successfully in the past, the Congressional Review Act has already been used several times by Trump’s new administration. It’s clear that Trump’s plan to “Make America Great Again” does not include preserving the planet on which America resides.
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.