AURORA, Co. – A bill making its way through the U.S. Senate is being challenged by business leaders and consumer groups.
Proponents say the Regulatory Accountability Act will ensure that health and environmental regulations are transparent and based on the best available science.
Critics say the law’s true purpose is to make it impossible for federal agencies to pass any new protections.
Beverly Hanstrom is the CEO of Colorado Medical Waste, a disposal company in Aurora. She calls the move an effort by big business to pollute without accountability.
“Why would we want less oversight?” she asks. “Everybody needs healthy food. And then there’s the EPA, they’re supposed to strengthen and enforce rules to protect clean air, clean water, clean land. Less is not going to be beneficial to anybody.”
National environmental groups say the measure would essentially ban agencies from keeping pesticides and bacteria such as salmonella out of food, keeping lead out of water, and from preventing exposure to known carcinogens such as asbestos.
The measure cleared the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
Hanstrom says the bill would give big business even more power to influence policy by allowing companies to throw a wrench into any proposed protection that might hurt their bottom lines.
Hanstrom acknowledges that cutting some bureaucratic red tape can help businesses and create jobs.
“I get that,” she adds. “But when in the process of putting Americans to work you’re putting our health and our environment at risk, ‘What’s the payoff?'”
According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the bill would replace an already industry-friendly rulemaking process with something even worse than one that currently only applies to the Federal Trade Commission; an agency that hasn’t attempted to enact a major rule in decades.Like this story? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get more of our best original news.