Hidden In The Budget:
The End Of Almost Every
Major Environmental Regulation
Today via Fast Company
Once the debt ceiling debate is settled, Congress is going to have to re-focus on the budget that almost shut down the government a few months ago. As part of that process, members of Congress have attached various provisions to the appropriations bills. One bill includes policy riders that deal with longstanding environmental rules–things like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. It’s called the 2012 Interior and Environmental Appropriations bill  and as currently written, it would scale back or reverse decades of environmental protections, including:
Removing Clean Air Act protections
One rider on the bill would nix the EPA’s funding to enforce the Clean Air Act’s upcoming Mercury and Air Toxics standards for power plants, which are intended to cut soot and smog pollution. The same rider would stop the EPA from enacting the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (aka the "good neighbor policy"), which limits power plant pollution that drifts into other states.
Most of the regulations being targeted are Clean Air Act rules put on the books in 1990 (signed by the first President Bush). "These are things people have been aware of for a long time," says Tony Kreindler, director of strategic communications at the Environmental Defense Fund. "Most companies out there that are affected have been preparing for a long time." But Kreindler explains that some companies–such as American Electric Power–have been bitterly fighting the rules, saying they haven’t had enough time to prepare, "while all along everyone else has known somehow that the day has been coming for 20 years."
If funding for the Mercury and Air Toxics rule is upheld, Kreindler estimates that it could prevent 17,000 premature deaths. Another 17,000 could be saved by the good neighbor policy. So if these policies are not upheld, well, do the math.