GOP Launches Assault on Health Protections, Safeguards

NRDC: Congressional Review Act Is a Public Health Menace

WASHINGTON – Republicans in both houses of Congress today are launching an effort to undo key public health and environmental safeguards and bar agencies from issuing future protections that are “substantially the same” without congressional approval. The GOP’s first targets are the Stream Protection Rule and the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule.

The following is a statement on the Congressional Review Act by Scott Slesinger, legislative director at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This week, Republican leaders in Congress are officially rolling out their campaign to destroy basic protections put in place by the Obama administration. They’re using a law with far-reaching consequences that has rarely been tested. It not only repeals existing protections, it blocks similar safeguards in the future.

“Supporters who vote for these resolutions should explain why they think there should never be any limits on what gets dumped into streams, or any limits on mountain top removal coal mining, or on methane spewing into the air.

“It's hard to imagine why they'd oppose methane limits, since this gas causes health and climate problems, and industry could make money from selling it, instead of allowing it to leak or be wasted.  Taxpayers would also benefit, because the leakage reduces royalty payments.”

In the past two decades, Republican-dominated Houses have repeatedly passed resolutions under the CRA, but only one has made it into law. The CRA short-circuits longstanding Senate procedure and allows a simple majority of Congress to overturn rules using a resolution of disapproval. It is currently aimed at repealing regulations issued within the last 60 legislative days of President Obama’s second term. 

NRDC has more information about the CRA here:

And the methane waste prevention rule is explained here:


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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.