A Florida congressman is asking fellow lawmakers to support a bill he’s working on that would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.
Freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., sent a letter to colleagues outlining his plan, which was obtained by Huffington Post Tuesday.
“Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans,” the letter says. “It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.”
The move follows President Donald Trump’s directive Monday requiring agencies to abolish two regulations for each proposed new rule.
The EPA was established in 1970 and is responsible enforcing such things as the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, as well as the Superfund Act. If the agency is abolished, it is unclear what would take over in its place or whether the three laws would be repealed.
Trump said during the campaign he would like to eliminate the EPA but has since said he supports some of its functions.
The White House has sought to calm jitters at the agency. Don Benton, who is overseeing the transition at the EPA, sent a memo saying much of what has been reported about changes at the EPA is inaccurate and quotes people no longer involved in policy decisions.
“I cannot tell you today what the final decisions from the White House, from our new administrator, and from the Congress will be. I can tell you that despite what you read and see on TV, no final decisions have been made with regard to the EPA,” the Wall Street Journal quoted the memo as saying, adding the agency’s core mission “to protect human health and the environment” will be carried out.
Scott Pruitt, Trump’s nominee for EPA administrator, has said he supports the EPA’s existence but said the agency has gone too far. He spent much of his career suing the EPA, saying the federal government doesn’t have the authority to impose many of its rules on the states.
A confirmation vote on Pruitt by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, but Democrats are mulling whether to boycott the session.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the ranking Democrat on the panel, sent a letter to Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., seeking a postponement because Pruitt has yet to submit responses to a number of questions and provide requested documents. Barrasso denied the request.