Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives took their disdain of environmental regulations to the next level by proposing a bill to completely eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz proposed HR 861 “to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency” on Friday. The text and summary of the bill have not yet been made public.
The bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Steven Palazzo (R-Mississippi), Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia), and Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky). “The EPA makes rules that undermine the voice of the American people and threaten jobs in Kentucky,” Massie stated.
The bill would supposedly “translate to a smooth transition in oversight and regulations from the federal government to individual states.” It is reported, however, that the bill “offers nothing in the way of guidance” for what would happen once the agency was shuttered.
In the past, a bill of this kind would have been guaranteed to fail. But in the Trump administration, the threat must be taken seriously. The EPA has already been ordered not to speak to the press, and has been altering their websites to remove climate change evidence.
Scott Pruitt, Trump's controversial pick to head of the organization, still has a lawsuit against the EPA (and has sued them 13 times before) for regulating coal and gas emissions, one of its main purposes.
With Pruitt pick seemingly appointed to subvert the EPA from the inside, HR 861 is unfortunately not as far-fetched as it would have once been considered.