A Freshman House Republican has proposed a bill that would “completely abolish” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) recently wrote to other legislators asking for co-sponsors on the bill, that if passed would shutter the EPA by the end of this year.
“Today, the American people are drowning in rules and regulations promulgated by unelected bureaucrats; and the Environmental Protection Agency has become an extraordinary offender,” Gaetz wrote in the email. “Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans,” Gaetz said when he introduced the bill on Friday.
The legislation is the first bill sponsored by Gaetz.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that HR 861 would “translate to a smooth transition in oversight and regulations from the federal government to individual states.
It is unclear how the bill would work if passed in Congress as the text of the bill is not yet available.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) has joined Gaetz in his efforts to abolish the federal agency responsible for protecting our environment.
Massie said, “The EPA makes rules that undermine the voice of the American people and threaten jobs in Kentucky.”
Gaetz was joined by two other Republican congressmen— Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia) and Steven Palazzo (R-Mississippi) have both signed on to co-sponsored the bill.
President Trump’s pick to administrate the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has also been a long-time critic of the agency. During confirmation hearings, however, Pruitt said he supports the EPA’s existence. Pruitt has reportedly sued the agency 13 times to date.
The agency was founded 46 years ago during the Nixon administration and is responsible for some of the country’s ground breaking environmental regulations, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
The agency has also been under fire for numerous controversies including the Flint Water Crisis and the Gold King Mine spill in 2015.
Trade groups in the chemicals and energy industries have also criticized the EPA for increasingly stringent regulations from the Obama Administration related to plant emissions. However, Congress reached a significant compromise last year when it enacted TSCA reform by passing the Lautenberg Act after squabbling about how to update the aging Toxic Substances Control Act for more than a decade.
President Trump has recently said he would work to eliminate regulations, and said he would cut the EPA budget and reduce the agency’s personnel by approximately 50 percent.
Earlier this week Trump signed an executive order that would require government agencies to remove two regulations for every new regulation proposed.
Gaetz has not offered any details on what other government agencies would enforce be laws currently governed by the EPA, or whether those laws would be repealed.