White House Blocks Health, Safety and Energy-Saving Regulations

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Obama administration is at times its own worst enemy when regulations designed to improve health, safety and energy savings are proposed by one wing and wind up being stalled in another.


Within the White House, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has caused more than 120 new rules to become bottlenecked, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards complained in a new report.


Some rules, such as those proposed by the Department of Energy, have sat for two years awaiting approval—despite a White House mandate adopted during the Bill Clinton years that requires OIRA to act within 90 days of receiving them.


New regulations singled out for attention by the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards include those requiring:


  • The installation of rearview cameras to prevent children from being backed over by vehicles.


  • Protection from silica dust to prevent respiratory damage among construction and manufacturing workers.


  • More oversight of imported food to ensure its safety.


  • The extension of minimum wage and overtime rules to home care workers.


  • The improvement of coal ash waste site safety rules to better protect communities and the environment.


  • New controls to prevent Wall Street traders from artificially driving up energy costs through speculation.


Howard A. Shelanski, a top economist at the Federal Trade Commission, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to lead OIRA. He has promised that, if confirmed, he will make speeding up the review process a priority.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Down the Regulatory Rabbit Hole (Coalition for Sensible Safeguards) (pdf)

The Most Important Hearing in Washington This Week (by George Zornick, The Nation)

Regulatory Nominee Vows to Speed Up Energy Reviews (by John Broder, New York Times)

House Republicans Push Bill to Stop Most Regulations (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

FDA Has Worked on Sunscreen Regulations for 32 Years without a Final Report (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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