The Republican "Contract with America," 10 draft bills the GOP has vowed to
push through in the first 100 days of the next Congress, represents a sweeping attempt to
remake the way government functions. At first glance, the package has little to say about
the environment. But buried within the bills -- which sport advertising-slogan names such
as the "American Dream Restoration Act" -- lie a number of provisions that would
indirectly undermine the foundation of environmental, health and safety protections.
- The Private Property Rights Protection and Compensation Act: Compensates businesses,
polluters and others who claim environmental protections reduce their property values by
10 percent or more. This radical reinterpretation of the Constitution could bankrupt
governments' ability to enforce and enact environmental, health and safety protections.
- The Risk Communication Act: Allows "peer panels" of scientists -- including
scientists working for the industry being regulated -- to reject environmental and
public-health protections by claiming they are based on "bad science."
- The Federal Regulatory Budget Cost Control Act: Creates an upper limit for the total
number of all federal regulations. For example, Environmental Protection Agency
regulations to protect children from pesticides in food could be blocked because other
agencies had already filled the quota of regulations.
- The Administrative Procedure Reform Act: Requires regulations affecting more than 100
people -- virtually every federal regulation falls into this category -- to be subjected
to an elaborate analysis by the Office of Management and Budget.
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