Republicans eye summer vote on bill to expand scrutiny of EPA rules

“Simply put, the American people and this Congress deserve to know exactly how much these regulations are costing our economy, and the TRAIN Act will bring the full impact of the EPA’s regulatory train wreck to light,” Sullivan said in a statement after the bill cleared the subcommittee by a voice vote, over the opposition of some Democrats.

The bill would put rules on ozone pollution, air toxics, greenhouse gases and other matters under the new inter-agency microscope.

The Center for Progressive Reform, a liberal advocacy group, has called the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011” an attempt to undermine vital protections.

“As the name does not at all suggest, it’s a bill about undercutting environmental regulations that inconvenience the energy industry. The idea is to create a sort of non-environmentally minded Star Chamber to review the full slate of Clean Air Act and coal ash regulations, for the purpose of concluding that they cost too much,” the group said in a blog post last month.

The bill’s nearly 30 sponsors include a handful of conservative Democrats, including Reps. Mike Ross (Ark.) and Jim Costa (Calif.).

The Energy and Power subcommittee also cleared a separate bill Tuesday aimed at expediting Clean Air Act permits for proposed oil-drilling projects off Alaska’s coast, where Shell Oil has been unable to receive a green light from EPA and the Interior Department thus far.

Cantor also hopes to bring that plan to the floor this summer, his aide said.

The bill — sponsored by Reps. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Gene Green (D-Texas) — would ease air pollution standards for offshore projects and limit challenges to EPA permits.

Gina McCarthy, who heads EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, criticized the bill earlier this month, arguing it could endanger public health.

But she also said the agency is closing in on an agreement with Shell on a key permit the company needs, The Houston Chronicle reported.

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