Talk About a TRAIN Wreck

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The House is poised to vote on yet another attempt to block Environmental Protection Agency regulations. This latest attempt is the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation”—or the “TRAIN Act”—which would create a committee to evaluate the economic impacts of a litany of environmental rules. The premise, of course, is that EPA rules are killing jobs rather than, you know, preventing polluters form killing people. The upshot is that this is a bill with a cute acronym that seeks to tell a regulatory agency not to do its job.

Given this, a bunch of environmental and public health groups were rather surprised to see their names listed in a press release last night as “supporters” of the TRAIN Act. The press release, from Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee, touted 108 supporters of the bill, including groups like Clean Air Watch, the Earth Day Coalition, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “Over 100 Groups Voice Support for TRAIN Act,” said the release headline.

Shortly after the release went out, Frank O’Donnell, head of Clean Air Watch, sent a note to reporters last night clarifying that the group did not in fact support “the mother of all dirty-air bills.” An hour and 40 minutes later, the committee issued a correction, with a headline that now only claimed “strong” support for the act. The list had shrunk significantly—now down to just 53 groups. Opps.

Anyway, the TRAIN Act probably still merits some attention. It will probably pass in the House but go nowhere in the Senate, but it’s a good reminder of what Congressional Republicans would like to do if they had full control of Congress and the White House right now.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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