Let’s Get This TRAIN Rolling

A recent post of mine railed about an overabundance of acronyms. But if it’s just one acronym and it offers some (maybe a little) clarity to an important federal piece of legislation, I can live with it.

Applause is in order when Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation can be shortened to TRAIN. And I’ll translate the explanation below from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council to say it is meant to require thorough analysis before EPA regulations can be put into place.

SBE Council delivered a letter to Congressman Jim Matheson (D-Utah) in support of the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011, H.R. 1705.  The Act would provide valuable information by mandating analysis of the cumulative costs and benefits to consumers, businesses and the economy of a variety of regulations due to be imposed by the EPA over the coming two years.

"This is vital," said SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan in the letter, "given our weak economy and the concerns small business owners continue to express about their ability to compete, create jobs and even survive."

As Kerrigan pointed out in the letter, the costs of environmental regulation hit small businesses particularly hard.  The SBA’s Office of Advocacy reports that the per-employee costs of environmental regulations are 364 percent higher for firms with less than 20 employees compared to businesses with 500 or more workers.

The TRAIN Act proposes that the cost analysis be comprehensive, including the impact these regulations would have on U.S. competitiveness, employment, electricity prices, fuel prices, and the reliability of the power supply.  Regulatory costs can impose both direct and indirect costs on small businesses – as consumers, and as suppliers to those businesses targeted by the regulation.