WASHINGTON -- The White House on Wednesday threatened to veto legislation that would delay the implementation of certain air quality standards by further curbing the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory power under the Clean Air Act.
"While the Administration strongly supports careful analysis of the economic effects of regulation, the approach taken in H.R. 2401 would slow or undermine important public health protections,” the White House said.
The statement comes weeks after the president angered environmental groups by shelving a proposed tightening of ozone standards.
Now instead of blocking EPA rules, he's threatening to block Congress.
The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act and its dozens of proposed amendments, including one by Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) to ensure the implementation of EPA's Clean Air Interstate Rule is delayed by a minimum of three years, will come up for a vote on the House floor this week.
Though the legislation is considered unlikely to pass the Senate, the administration is at some pains to be on record as having defended air pollution laws in the wake of the president's ozone decision, and has pledged previously to defend the authority of the Clean Air Act. Wednesday's statement serves to underscore that pledge.
"If the President is presented with H.R. 2401, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill," the White House said.
Read the full statement from the White House below.
The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2401, which would block two landmark public health regulations under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and require the preparation of costly, unnecessary, and redundant reports. While the Administration strongly supports careful analysis of the economic effects of regulation, the approach taken in H.R. 2401 would slow or undermine important public health protections.
Since its enactment in 1970 and subsequent amendment in 1990, both times with strong bipartisan support, the CAA has improved the Nation's air quality and protected the health of this country’s citizens. Forty years of success have demonstrated that strong environmental protections and strong economic growth go hand in hand. H.R. 2401 would undermine this progress by blocking EPA's ability to move forward with two long overdue CAA rules – the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule – to reduce harmful air pollution that threatens public health, especially the health of the most vulnerable populations, including children and seniors.
Each year, these rules would avoid tens of thousands of premature deaths, prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks and thousands of hospital visits for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and alleviate hundreds of thousands of childhood asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses. EPA estimates that these two rules alone will yield hundreds of billions of dollars in net benefits each year. H.R. 2401 would block these rules and indefinitely delay these public health and economic benefits.
If the President is presented with H.R. 2401, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.