Steinzor Testifies at E&C Hearing on Environmental Regulation, the Economy, and Jobs

by Rena Steinzor

February 15, 2011

CPR President Rena Steinzor is testifying at 1pm today before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. The hearing will be the latest in a string attempting to make a case that public health and safety protections must be weakened right now given the state of the economy.

In her testimony, Steinzor argues:

I appreciate that the majority feels it has a mandate as a result of the election. But I would urge all Members to consider whether gutting environmental protection is really what voters had in mind, or whether this attack on regulation is simply an effort to re-fight past battles over the nation’s environmental laws, this time by objecting not to the laws themselves but to their enforcement. It’s bad enough that the agencies are underfunded to the point that they are barely able to do their jobs. But this fight is really about hobbling such legislative landmarks as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and outside the realm of the environment, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, banking reform, health care, and more.

The corporate and political voices in favor of deregulating today are, by and large, the same ones that opposed those laws from the outset. But Congress has already made the policy choices here, directing EPA, for example, to protect the water we drink and the air we breathe, and to make sure we are not bombarded by a variety of poisons in the food chain that ends in our lunch boxes and on our dinner tables. Those laws are already on the books, the product of lengthy consideration by Congress, following ample debate that included all voices. Many of those laws have been tested in court, too. For good reason, Congress delegated a measure of authority to the regulatory agencies to establish specific standards, the kind that require scientific expertise that Members could not reasonably be expected to possess. But Congress made clear in the law that the agencies must exercise that delegated authority within the specific parameters established by Congress.

The rest of the testimonies are up at the hearing page.

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Also from Rena Steinzor

Rena Steinzor is a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and a past president of the Center for Progressive Reform. She is the author of Why Not Jail? Industrial Catastrophes, Corporate Malfeasance, and Government Inaction.

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