The League joined a letter to the U.S. House in opposition to the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017. Under the REINS Act, no major regulation could take effect unless it is approved by both houses of Congress in a small window of time. This would make it impossible to protect the public by shutting down the entire regulatory system including attacks on the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and many other consumer protection measures.
On behalf of the undersigned organizations and our millions of members and supporters, we strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 26, the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017,” posted on the Rules Committee website and which is scheduled to be on the House floor this week. The REINS Act is an extraordinarily extreme measure that would effectively make it impossible to protect the public by shutting down the entire regulatory system.
Under the bill, no major regulation could take effect unless it is approved by both houses of Congress within a limited period of time. This would effectively amend every existing regulatory statute – including bedrock laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act – and neuter them. The regulatory system would return to what it was in the age of the robber barons with no federal agency able to use its technical and scientific expertise to protect the public. Either house of Congress could kill any future safeguard simply by failing to act.
The public expects the government to be able to protect it from toxins in food, consumer products, air and water. The REINS Act would make that virtually impossible. It would amount to a coup by ideologues and special interests that have been unable to block safeguards through normal legislative and constitutional processes.
The bill’s sponsors understand how completely their bill would shut down the regulatory system. Apparently, for that reason, they have added a new provision – a one-year delay – to make sure that REINS could not get in the way of Trump Administration efforts to repeal regulations. REINS would close up the regulatory system so completely that efforts to alter or repeal regulations would also never be able to take effect.
If you think you might ever protect your constituents from dirty air or water, drinking water contamination, disease spread by food, lead in toys, predatory banking practices or any known or yet unforeseen threat, you need to vote against the REINS Act. The Act would simply be the most fundamental step away from protecting the public in U.S. history.
Alaska Wilderness League
Center for Biological Diversity
Clean Water Action
Defenders of Wildlife
Friends of the Earth
Interfaith Power & Light
League of Conservation Voters
League of Women Voters
Natural Resources Defense Council
Southern Environmental Law Center
Voices for Progress