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U.S. Senate Could Vote Soon to Put Brakes on Gov't Safety Rules

The proposed Regulatory Accountability Act would require financial-impact reviews of many safety regulations, including those affecting the food and drug supply, every 10 years. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)
The proposed Regulatory Accountability Act would require financial-impact reviews of many safety regulations, including those affecting the food and drug supply, every 10 years. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)
May 23, 2017

PHOENIX – A bill to make safety regulations more responsive to the concerns of industry already has passed the U.S. House and soon should make its way to the floor of the Senate.

The Regulatory Accountability Act would force agencies to give more weight to the costs a proposed rule could impose on business - rather than primarily prioritizing the protection of consumers and the environment.

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva says the Republicans' interest in regulatory reform is just a ruse to let industry do whatever it wants with few consequences.

"You're making it return to a time that we learned a bitter lesson from - and that time was when there was minimal regulations and our streams and waterways were polluted, our air was more polluted, the rates of disease was very high in this country, and these regulations came into place for a reason," he explains.

The bill also would put many existing rules under review - regulations that ensure the safety of our air, water, wildlife habitat, workplaces and the food and drug supply.

Supporters of the bill say it would cut red tape and thus free up industry to create more jobs.

Anne Kelly is the senior program director of public policy at the Ceres BICEP Network, a nonprofit representing big-name companies interested in sustainability, including Nike, Coca-Cola, Dell and Apple. She says that upending the current system of regulations would hurt industry, not help it.

"It would really take away and shortchange a lot of the important regulations that give business certainty and predictability and help to implement the laws that are passed by Congress," she says.

Kelly adds that the bill would add so many steps into the regulatory process that it would increase the time it takes to finalize a rule from the current two years to four.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ