For many years it was the Environmental Protection Agency who did the regulating across much of the energy business. But if the House of Representatives has its way, the EPA might instead be the one regulated.

In a 249 to 169 vote, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act (TRAIN Act) on September 23. If passed in the Senate, the bill would clear and regularize the practice of assessing the economic impact of environmental regulations, including impact on electricity and fuel prices, jobs and power supply.

By the end of January 2012, a proposed committee included in the bill’s language would submit a report to the House Committee on Energy and the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works that would then be open for public comment and review. By August 2012, the bill estimates a final report would be completed.

Calling the EPA’s proposed emissions standards a “regulatory train wreck,” Representative John Sullivan (r-OK) who introduced the bill along with Representative Jim Matheson (D-UT) said he wanted to see the economy revitalized.

“I strongly believe the Obama Administration is moving too fast and showing too little regard for the economic consequences of their energy and environmental policies,” Sullivan said.

The suggestion that environmental regulations should be subject to economic review casts further doubt on the EPA’s most recent emissions rule that was already delayed by Obama in early September. The rule would limit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide air pollution and could cost the industry billions in retrofits and other technology to curb emissions. Read more: Generators Hail Withdrawal Of Ozone Rules.

“Many of EPA’s costly regulations threaten America’s economic and national security and job creation, while providing little or no significant environmental benefit. Conducting cost-benefit analyses of proposed regulations is in the best interest of the American people,” said National Petrochemical & Refiners Association President Charles Drevna in a statement. “Existing regulations also need to be examined so those that do far more harm than good can be eliminated.”

But the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental lobbying group, said in a statement that the bill is “needlessly putting tens of thousands of lives at risk and threatening the health of thousands more by allowing indefinite delays of badly needed pollution protections.”

“The House effectively tied the health of our children and all Americans to the tracks and plowed right over us today, said Franz Matzner, NRDC’s climate and legislative director. “By blocking clean air provisions that have been in the works for years, the TRAIN Act derails protections that studies show would prevent tens of thousands of deaths and hospital visits and millions of lost work and school days.”

Read the full 11-page text of the TRAIN act, downloadable on the top right of this post.