White House formalizes veto threat over bill to delay clean air regs

The White House is threatening to veto pending House legislation that would mandate new interagency economic analyses of EPA rules and delay two major air pollution regulations by years.

The formal “statement of administration policy” issued Wednesday is not a surprise because the White House had signaled the veto intentions to The Hill earlier in the week.

But it nonetheless underscores the White House pledge, after shelving upcoming smog rules, to hold the line on other EPA regulations that are under attack by Republicans, industry groups and some conservative Democrats.

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“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 says that Obama’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill if it arrives at his desk.

The House is expected to approve the TRAIN Act – which stands for Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation – late this week, but it’s unlikely to pass the Senate.

Here is the whole White House statement:

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.

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