It was used last month by Republican lawmakers to overturn OSHA''s ergonomics rules and now Democrats in Congress are threatening to use the Congressional Review Act to reinstate several EPA rules recently rolled back by the Bush Administration.
Democrats and green groups launched a counter-offensive to White House decisions to suspend proposed rules that would decrease arsenic in drinking water and curb mining waste.
President Bush has also said he opposes rules aimed at curbing carbon monoxide from power plants -- a key contributor to global warming.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said lawmakers could use the Congressional Review Act to challenge Bush''s environmental decisions.
The law allows repealing a rule through a joint resolution and a petition signed by 30 senators.
The little-known rule that was never used may now be invoked for the second time in less than two months.
"In the blink of an eye, one protection after another is being torn down without public comment. That has to stop," said Lieberman, a member of the Senate''s Environmental and Public Works committee. "We think the Congressional Review Act may be able to undo some of the undoing the Bush Administration has done."
The Bush Administration has suspended or delayed several proposed environmental rules, citing the need for more reviews or scientific studies.
Bush has also stood by his position that strict and costly environmental rules would be harmful to the U.S. energy industry because of the current struggle to meet the demand for electricity and fuel.
"President Bush promised during the campaign to set high environmental standards and build conservation partnerships with federal, state and local governments," said Lieberman. "Instead, his administration is gutting the standards already in place and too often partnering with those who are focused on protecting not the environment but their own special interests."
by Virginia Sutcliffe