Senate Takes up Bill to Block Public Health, Safety and Financial Protections

WASHINGTON  –– The Senate begins markup today on legislation that would cripple the government’s ability to protect people from dirty air, contaminated food, polluted waters, predatory financial practices and other serious threats.  The House passed a version of the bill, the so-called Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA), in January.

The following is a statement by Scott Slesinger, legislative director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.  


“This bill is for polluters and others who want to escape accountability—not for the American people. It would make it virtually impossible to safeguard the public from dirty air, unsafe food, contaminated drinking water and other threats.”

The following are statements by residents of Ohio and Missouri whose families have experienced harm because of a lack of adequate regulation:

“We need more, and stronger, protections—not fewer,'' said Jeff Napier, a resident of Guilford Township, Ohio, whose mother died from salmonella poisoning after eating contaminated peanut butter. “Nobody should ever lose a loved one this way.”  Napier and his family want Congress to strengthen food protection laws.

“This man gave everything for his country and eats a piece of cantaloupe and ends up dying,” said Paul F. Schwarz, a resident of Independence, Missouri, whose father, a World War II veteran, died in 2011 of complications after eating listeria-contaminated melon, before recently-adopted U.S. food safety standards went into effect. “Food safety should be paramount in our country, end of story.  This is the United States of America.  We’re better than that--we’re much better than that.”

The RAA would make it all but impossible to put in place protections to avert future tragedies like those that struck the Napier and Schwarz families.

Napier, Schwarz and other families traveled to Washington recently to urge Congress to reject the Regulatory Accountability Act and other measures that would eviscerate countless, decades-old public health and consumer safeguards and would block new safeguards.  The House has already passed several bills that would undermine or destroy the regulatory system, and President Trump’s executive order requiring at least two rules to be eliminated for each new one would also raise major barriers to protecting the public.  NRDC, along with other groups, has sued to block that order, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

NRDC can provide contact information for these and other individuals who are pushing for strong health and safety regulations after experiencing harm from unsafe food or toxic chemicals.

For more on Paul Schwarz’s experience, please see this video.

For a list by NRDC of the public health and safety protections the RAA could block, click 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.