H.R. 2401: Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011 (TRAIN Act)

H.R. 2401

Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011 (TRAIN Act)

Date
September 22, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Thursday, September 22, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2401 under a rule.  The rule provides for two hours of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Additionally, the rule makes in order 12 amendments and provides for one motion to recommit with or without instructions.  The 12 amendments made in order are summarized below.  The bill was introduced by Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) on June 24, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 2401 would require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Specifically, the bill would require the President to establish the Committee for the Cumulative Analysis of Regulations that Impact Energy and Manufacturing in the United States.  The Committee would be charged with analyzing and reporting on the cumulative and incremental impacts of covered rules and actions of the EPA concerning air, waste, water, and climate change.

The bill would require that members of the Committee be composed of the following officials (or their designees):

  • Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief Economist;
  • Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Chief Economist and the Under Secretary for International Trade;
  • Secretary of Labor, acting through the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics;
  • Secretary of Energy, acting through the Administrator of the Energy Information Administration;
  • Secretary of the Treasury, acting through the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy of the Department of the Treasury;
  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors;
  • Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission;
  • Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs;
  • Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration; and
  • Chairman of the United States International Trade Commission, acting through the Office of Economics.

H.R. 2401 would require that the Secretary of Commerce serve as Chair of the Committee and the Committee would terminate 60 days after submitting its final report. 

The bill would also require the Committee to conduct analyses, for each of the calendar years 2016, 2020, and 2030, of the following:

  • The cumulative impact of covered rules that are promulgated as final regulations on or before January 1, 2012, in combination with covered actions;
  • The cumulative impact of all covered rules (including covered rules that have not been promulgated as final regulations on or before January 1, 2012), in combination with covered actions;
  • The incremental impact of each covered rule not promulgated as a final regulation on or before January 1, 2012, relative to an analytic baseline representing the results of the analysis.

H.R. 2401 would require that each analysis include the following information:

  • Estimates of the impacts of the covered rules and covered actions with regard to the global economic competitiveness of the United States, particularly with respect to energy intensive and trade sensitive industries; other cumulative costs and cumulative benefits, including evaluation through a general equilibrium model approach; any resulting change in national, state, and regional electricity prices; any resulting change in national, state, and regional fuel prices; the impact on national, state, and regional employment during the five-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, and also in the long term, including secondary impacts associated with increased energy prices and facility closures; and the reliability and adequacy of bulk power supply in the United States;
  • Discussion of key uncertainties and assumptions associated with each estimate;
  • A sensitivity analysis;
  • Discussion, and where feasible an assessment, of the cumulative impact of the covered rules and covered actions on consumers; small businesses; regional economies; state, local, and tribal governments; local and industry-specific labor markets; and agriculture, as well as key uncertainties associated with each topic.

The bill would require the Committee to use the best data available to the public or supplied to the Committee by its members, including the most recent data showing air quality, facility emissions, and installed controls.

H.R. 2401 would include among "covered rules" specified national standards for air quality and pollutants, hazardous and solid waste, and other rules promulgated under specified provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA) on or after January 1, 2009.  The bill would define "covered action" as any action on or after such date by the EPA, a state, a local government, or a permitting agency as a result of the application of specified CAA provisions with respect to an air pollutant that is identified as a greenhouse gas.

H.R. 2401 would require that the Committee make public and submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce a preliminary report containing the results of the analyses. 

The bill would delay for six months the implementation of the EPA's controversial Utility MACT rule and new transport rule to ensure that the economic impacts of these two major rules in conjunction with other EPA rules are fully understood. 

H.R. 2401 would authorize $3 million to the Department of Commerce and $500,000 to the EPA to carry out the requirements of this Act.

Background

According to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, numerous federal rules affect U.S. industries and the jobs they provide. Some rules increase reporting requirements, which means more time and money spent filling out paperwork.  Other rules require industries to change the way they operate, retrofitting their facilities with new equipment or changing manufacturing processes.  While these regulations are sometimes evaluated on an individual basis, the federal government has not assessed the cumulative impact of the layers upon layers of regulations our job creators face.

The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts to the Nation (TRAIN) Act would require an interagency committee to analyze the cumulative economic impacts of certain environmental regulations in an effort to better understand how these policies affect American manufacturing, global competitiveness, energy prices, and jobs.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that, individually, some of its rules could cost tens of billions of dollars.  A large proportion of these costs would burden the electricity producers who light our homes and enable our manufacturers to produce American goods.  Concurrent EPA regulations impose significant burdens on U.S. businesses and consumers; however, there is not concrete information on what these burdens mean for global competitiveness, jobs, and prices.  Among the unanswered questions—

•           What do these regulations mean for our ability to compete in the global marketplace?

•           Will concurrent compliance with regulations disrupt the U.S. electricity supply by forcing early retirement of electricity generating plants?

•           Will electricity prices climb, and by how much, as power producers are required to retrofit plants to meet new requirements?

•           How would higher electricity prices and plant closures affect employment in the U.S.?

The TRAIN Act will not prevent EPA from continuing to develop regulations, nor will it limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to protect public health and welfare in any way.  The TRAIN Act will not compel any legal regulatory framework to be based upon the final analysis. NERA Economic Consulting has estimated preliminary costs for the two rules to be $17.8 billion annually, and a total cost of $184 billion (present value) for the period 2011-2030, price increases of 12% nationally in 2016 and as high as 24% in certain states, and 1.44 million lost job-years by 2020. 

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 2401 would result in net discretionary savings of $43 million over the 2012-2016 period.  Enacting this legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues, therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. 

Amendments

Each amendment will be debated for 10 minutes.

Amendment No. 1—Rep. Rush (D-IL): This amendment would add the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as well as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, to the interagency council that the underlying bill would create.  Additionally, the amendment would direct the Committee to look at health impacts that would be affected by EPA’s proposed rules such as asthma, birth and developmental affects, and premature mortality.  The amendment would also require the Committee look at the loss of “clean energy jobs,” the effect on clean energy companies, the effect on regional air quality, the effect on the water quality of lakes and streams, any resulting change in the number of work days missed, any resulting change in the number of school days missed, and any resulting change in the use of emergency medical services

Amendment No. 2—Rep. McNerney (D-CA): This amendment would add the effect on clean energy jobs and clean energy companies, including those that export clean energy technology, to the items to be considered in the analyses required by the bill.

Amendment No. 3—Rep. Moore (D-WI): This amendment would require that the study analyze the impact that a rule or action could have on low-income communities and public health.

Amendment No. 4—Rep. Capps (D-CA): This amendment would require that the Committee report on estimates on the impacts of delaying the covered rules and covered actions on the incidence of  birth and developmental defects and infant mortality.

Amendment No. 5—Reps. Kinzinger (R-IL), Gonzales (D-TX): This amendment would add upcoming EPA gasoline regulations to the list of measures to be analyzed for their cumulative impact on energy prices, jobs, and American competitiveness.

Amendment No. 6—Rep. Dent (R-PA): This amendment would add the EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry and Standards of Performance for Portland Cement Plants to the Covered Rules within the bill.

Amendment No. 7—Rep. Hastings (D-FL): This amendment would exclude from the Committee’s jurisdiction all rules and regulations that undergo a cost-benefit analysis as a part of existing regulatory requirements.

Amendment No. 8—Rep. Connelly (D-VA): This amendment would require the Committee to conduct or commission studies to identify pollution control policies that should be adopted and implemented by the United States to provide domestic job growth and ensure that the Nation is internationally competitive.

Amendment No. 9—Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX): This amendment would extend the public comment period from 90 days to 120 days.

Amendment No. 10—Rep. Whitfield (R-KY): This amendment would provide that the Cross State Air Pollution Rule has no legal force or effect, and directs EPA to continue to apply Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) for at least three years until after the study in the underlying bill is complete.  The amendment would also require that the proposed Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule has no legal force and effect and that any subsequent Utility MACT rule be issued no sooner than one year after the study in the underlying bill is complete.  If reissuing the rule, EPA is required to ensure that MACT standards are achievable in practice and that the compliance period is at least five years.

Amendment No. 11—Rep. Latta (R-OH): This amendment would update the Clean Air Act’s criteria for what factors can be considered when promulgating National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).  Specifically, the amendment would allow the EPA Administrator to consider feasibility and cost when setting these standards, which would negate the effect of a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that held implementation costs cannot be considered when setting NAAQS.

Amendment No. 12—Rep. Richardson (D-CA): This amendment would strike the offset provision of to reduce funding to the Diesel Emission Reductions Act.