- Fail to effectively enforce environmental laws;
- Waive or stray from environmental laws of or weaken protections afforded by such laws;
- Don't hold judicial or administrative proceedings over violations of environmental laws;
- Fail to effectively punish violations of environmental laws;
- Fail to effectively enforce environmental commitments in agreements to which a foreign country and the United States are involved.
What is House Bill H.R. 1946?
This bill would expand provisions of the 1974 Trade and Environment Enforcement Act. Specifically, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) would have the power to impose penalties, including tariffs, for countries that violate any of the conditions set out in the legislation.
Countries that could be subject to penalties would be those that:
Foreign countries that violate environmental law; the USTR.
Cost of House Bill H.R. 1946
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) argued in a press release that the bill would help ensure the U.S. doesn't have a competitive disadvantage in trade deals:
"These bills provide an opportunity to secure and enforce the best possible environmental protections in U.S. trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Oregon companies take pride in their commitment to the environment, and we should ensure our trading partners are held accountable and meet their obligations to raise standards abroad."
Of Note: This bill has been proposed before. In 2013, Rep. Blumenauer introduced the bill, but it never reached a vote on the floor of the House.
Previous attempts at establishing international environmental law have been questionably successful due to an inability to get negotiating countries to make the laws enforceable. As Oren Cass at Politico points out, the recent Paris Climate Deal has basically no enforcement mechanism:
"the final submissions are not enforceable, and carry no consequences beyond 'shame' for noncompliance — a fact bizarrely taken for granted by all involved."
Another previous attempt at international environmental regulation was the Kyoto Protocol. However, as CBC News explains, there was no way to ensure the countries that agreed to reduce their carbon emissions would actually follow through. For example, when Canada realized it wouldn't meet its commitments, it simply left the Protocol without consequences.
Summary by: Chris Conrad
(Photo Credit: Chinasmog)
Green 301 Act
To amend the Trade Act of 1974 to authorize the United States Trade Representative to take discretionary action if a foreign country is engaging in unreasonable acts, policies, or practices relating to the environment, and for other purposes.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
TradeCommittee on Ways and MeansIntroducedApril 22nd, 2015
- house Committees