House to start 2014 with bill curbing EPA

House Republicans have scheduled work on legislation next week aimed at easing environmental regulations and forcing federal facilities to comply with state-level rules.

Members will consider H.R. 2279, the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act. The bill is a compilation of three environmental bills that were approved in 2013 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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The original bill with that same title, from Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), would remove a requirement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) review regulations under the Solid Waste Disposal Act every three years. Instead, it would let the EPA review these rules as appropriate.

The bill would prohibit the EPA from imposing overlapping regulations on states that have rules on solid waste disposal.

The House Rules Committee attached two other measures to the bill. One is the Federal Facility Accountability Act, from Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), which would require all federally owned facilities to comply with state requirements on hazardous substances.

Another is the Federal and State Partnership for Environmental Protection Act, from Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio). That will would require the President to consult with states before enforcing federal environmental law.

All three bills were approved separately by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. They were also considered separately at the subcommittee level in June, after which full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said the measures were a good step toward cooperating with states on environmental measures.

"Today we took a key step toward enacting four pieces of important legislation to protect human health and the environment, reduce red tape, protect jobs, and improve the partnership between the federal and the state governments," Upton said in June. "We have a strong working relationship with our states, and these bills reflect that ongoing partnership."

In subcommittee, the legislation from Gardner and Latta was approved by voice vote, and Johnson's bill was passed in a party-line 11-7 vote. However, all three were approved by voice vote in the full committee.

Republicans are expected to consider the legislation under a rule, which means it should be able to pass with a simple majority vote given the expected GOP support and some support from Democrats.

As of Tuesday, the House Rules Committee had not set a date for writing a rule for the bill.

— This story was updated Thrusday at 1:17 p.m.