Today, Center for Progressive Reform President Rena Steinzor will testify at a Senate Hearing hosted by the Judiciary Committee entitled "Justice Delayed: the Human Cost of Regulatory Paralysis."
Steinzor's testimony can be read in full here.
According to her testimony:
The subcommittee deserves tremendous credit for airing the truth about the public health regulations that agencies are writing as directed by Congress. The costs of delay are as real as they should be unnecessary, given the clear mandates of the law. Unfortunately, the overwhelming clout of Fortune 100 companies and their relentless, self-serving effort to ignore the great benefits provided by these essential protections has dominated the airwaves.
One does not need to look far to see how essential regulations are. Just ask anyone whose life was saved by a seat belt, whose children escaped brain damage because the EPA took lead out of gas, who turns on the faucet knowing the water will be clean, who takes drugs for a chronic illness confident the medicine will make them better, who avoided having their hand mangled in machinery on the job because an emergency switch was there to cut off the motor, who has taken their kids on a trip to a heritage national park to see a bald eagle that was saved from the brink of extinction—the list goes on and on.
The EPA’s regulations are among the most beneficial safeguards the U.S. regulatory system has ever produced. For example, a 2011 EPA analysis assessing Clean Air Act regulations found that in 2010 these rules saved 164,300 adult lives and prevented 13 million days of work loss and 3.2 million days of school loss due to pollution-related illnesses such as asthma. By 2020, if the rules are issued promptly and Congress resists shrill demands that it derail them yet again, the annual benefits of these rules will include 237,000 adult lives saved as well as the prevention of 17 million work loss days and 5.4 million school loss days. Even the most conservative practitioners of cost-benefit analysis, including John Graham, President Bush’s regulatory czar, acknowledge what an amazing bang for the buck these regulations deliver in relationship to the costs they impose.
Conversely, because Clean Air Act regulations have been so long delayed—after all, Congress passed the Clean Air Act Amendments in 1990 and we sit here 23 years later—thousands of additional lives have been lost, hundreds of thousands of people have had heart attacks and visited the hospital because of respiratory illness, and people have lost millions of days off work and out of school.
The testimony highlights several EPA rules that have been delayed and the human costs of these delays: