CPR Archive for Ben Somberg

Simpler Government, or Secret and Unaccountable Government?

by Ben Somberg | April 04, 2013

Over at Climate Progress, CPR Member Scholar Lisa Heinzerling critiques Cass Sunstein's new book, “Simpler: The Future of Government."

Rules on worker health, environmental protection, food safety, health care, consumer protection, and more all passed through Sunstein’s inbox. Some never left.

...

In Sunstein’s account, OIRA’s interventions also ensured “a well-functioning system of public comment” and “compliance with procedural ideals that might not always be strictly compulsory but that might be loosely organized under the rubric of ‘good government’.” No ...

Who Will Run the EPA?

by Ben Somberg | April 01, 2013
From Member Scholar Lisa Heinzerling's new article in the Yale Journal on Regulation: With President Obama's nomination of Gina McCarthy as the new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), much attention has turned to her record as the EPA official in charge of air pollution programs, experience as the head of two states’ environmental agencies, and views on specific policies and priorities. And with the President’s nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the Director of the Office of ...

Mancini "Leads" OIRA as Deputy Administrator

by Ben Somberg | March 13, 2013
A quick update on the OIRA leadership front: Dominic Mancini has been named the Deputy Administrator of OIRA, and now “leads” the office from this position, an OMB spokesperson says via email (The Hill was up with this news a bit earlier today). Boris Bershteyn’s appointment as Acting Administrator has ended, the spokesperson said. Bershteyn had reached a time limit under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which puts restrictions on acting officers performing in Senate-confirmed positions. By the letter of ...

There is Now No OIRA Administrator

by Ben Somberg | March 11, 2013
Last week Rena Steinzor wrote here that  the Acting Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Boris Bershteyn, was approaching a time limit under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. That law stipulates that a temporary appointee in a Senate-confirmed position can generally serve for no more than 210 days, unless a nomination is pending, which in this case it is not. Where Bershteyn was previously listed as the OIRA Administrator, the White House has now removed his ...

Robert Glicksman Testifies in House Hearing on Regulatory Policy

by Ben Somberg | February 28, 2013
CPR Member Scholar Robert L. Glicksman will testify at a hearing this morning of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. The hearing will promote the notion of "The Obama Administration's Regulatory War on Jobs, the Economy, and America's Global Competitiveness" (sounds awfully familiar), and the solution, the majority will say, is a series of anti-regulatory bills (many of which passed the House, but went nowhere in the Senate, in the last Congress). Professor Glicksman’s ...

CPR Report: Rise in Contract Labor Brings New Worker Safety Threats, Demands New Government Policies in Several Dangerous Industries

by Ben Somberg | January 11, 2013
Just how accountable is an employer to an employee if the employee is only working for one day? In areas from construction to farm work, warehouse labor to hotel housekeeping, contingent work is growing or already common. Rather than hire permanent, full-time employees directly, many employers hire workers indirectly through 3rd party agencies, or on contracts as short as a day. Too often, workers in these fields see little job security, low wages, minimal opportunities for advancement, and, all too ...

Noah Sachs Op-Ed: Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act Would Further Politicize Rulemaking

by Ben Somberg | November 26, 2012
CPR Member Scholar Noah Sachs published an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning critiquing the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act. That bill would allow the White House to review rules proposed by independent federal agencies. Writes Sachs: Imagine if important government agencies, purposely designed by Congress to be insulated from political pressure, suddenly had to bend to White House wishes. Campaign contributors might then try to influence Nuclear Regulatory Commission decisions on safety standards for aging nuclear plants. Big ...

Comments on Five IRIS Assessments Show Industry Clogging up Process with Not Relevant Information

by Ben Somberg | November 01, 2012
One of the biggest challenges for the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), a database for toxicological information and human health effects data that plays a role in many regulatory safeguards, is how slowly it produces chemical assessments. One of the reasons: chemical industry interests have flooded the comments on many IRIS assessments with pages of non-germane information for EPA to wade through. In a letter today to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, CPR President Rena Steinzor and Policy Analysts Wayland ...

Clean Water Act at 40, Roundup Edition

by Ben Somberg | October 19, 2012
Here’s a final compilation of our posts on the Clean Water Act at 40: William Andreen: The Clean Water Act at 40: Finishing a Task Well Begun Dan Tarlock: Forty Years Later, Time to Turn in the CWA Clunker for Something Suited for the 21st Century Robin Kundis Craig: The Clean Water Act at 40: Up to the Challenge of the Climate Change Era? Robert Adler: The Clean Water Act at 40: Can We Renew the Vision? Robert Glicksman and ...

Food Safety and Worker Safety Advocates Urge Vilsack to Withdraw Poultry Inspection Rule

by Ben Somberg | September 20, 2012
A host of concerned groups and individuals wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today urging him to withdraw proposed changes to poultry inspection rules until food safety and worker safety concerns are addressed. The letter was signed by a range of food safety and worker safety groups and individual signers, including CPR Member Scholars Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, and Rena Steinzor. The letter explains the food safety and worker safety issues at stake, and takes USDA to ...

Key EPA Air Pollution Rule Runs Past 120 Day Deadline at White House

by Ben Somberg | September 15, 2012
The Administration has just missed another deadline on issuing the final revised “boiler MACT” rule. The revised version of the rule will provide less pollution reduction than the original version, but is still expected to prevent thousands of deaths each year. The EPA had pledged for many months that the rule would be finalized in April. It later said the rule would be finalized in the “spring.” On May 17, the agency sent the rule to the White House’s Office of Information ...

Bill Clinton: After Oklahoma City Bombing, I Promised Myself I Would Never Bash Government Bureaucrats

by Ben Somberg | September 12, 2012
Former President Bill Clinton, campaigning for President Obama in Florida on Tuesday, the 9/11 anniversary, offered a passionate defense of government employees, the AP noted. I was curious about the whole quote, so I watched and wrote it out (via C-SPAN, at 34:55): On this day, of all days, we should know that there are good and noble people who work for the government. I remember when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred – which, before 9/11, was the biggest terrorist ...

Romney Falsely Claims Health Benefits of Utility MACT Are Due to Bankrupting Coal Companies -- Not Pollution Reduction Equipment

by Ben Somberg | September 06, 2012
Mitt Romney added a new twist Tuesday to false right-wing claims about the EPA’s regulation limiting mercury and other pollutants from coal power plants.  EPA estimated that the “utility MACT” will have annual monetized benefits of $37-90 billion and costs of $9.6 billion. A critique we’ve heard over and over again from the industry and its supporters goes something like this: “But only $6 million of those benefits come from reducing mercury pollution, the top target of the rule!” It’s sort of ...

Draft Republican Platform Cites Debunked Regulatory Costs Study, Suggests Rules be Only a 'Helpful Guide'

by Ben Somberg | August 27, 2012
A draft of the Republican party platform, posted by Politico on Friday afternoon, reveals that the party has incorporated some of the more absurd claims and proposals on regulations pushed by House Republicans and some more radical trade organizations.  The draft claims regulations cost $1.75 trillion each year – that’s from a discredited study sponsored by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. It turned out that 70 percent of that figure came from a regression analysis based on opinion ...

Obama Campaign Inches Closer to Asserting that Coal Does Not Kill People

by Ben Somberg | August 15, 2012
Last week, President Obama’s campaign earned green criticism for airing a radio ad in Ohio that portrayed the President as pro-coal, and Mitt Romney as anti-coal. The ad asserted that Obama has been good for the coal industry, and then said: And Mitt Romney? He’s attacking the president’s record on coal. But here’s what Romney said in 2003, at a press conference in front of a coal plant: “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And ...

White House Now Not Sure it is Interested at All in Public's Ideas for Strengthening Existing Rules

by Ben Somberg | July 18, 2012
The White House’s message on its program for retrospectively reviewing existing regulations just shifted a little further away from recognizing the need for protective regulations for health, safety, and the environment. First the White House said it was interested in "expanding" certain existing regulations, if appropriate. Then it said it was interested in hearing ideas from the public on expanding regulations, but officially considers those ideas to be a lower priority than ideas that would weaken regulations. Now today, a ...

Safe Drinking Water Act Provides EPA Key Opportunity to Regulate BPA

by Ben Somberg | June 27, 2012
Member Scholar Noah Sachs and Policy Analyst Aimee Simpson have sent a letter to the EPA nominating the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) to be included on the “Fourth Contaminant Candidate List” for possible regulation. They write: Pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 (SDWA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must compile a list of unregulated contaminants that are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems and may require regulation under the SDWA.  EPA then ...

Summer is Here, and With it Another Missed Deadline for a Key Regulation

by Ben Somberg | June 22, 2012
The EPA has quietly missed another deadline on issuing the final revised “boiler MACT” rule. The agency had pledged for many months that the rule would be finalized in April. Then, in an April 30th “status report” filing with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the agency said: “EPA intends to take final action on this proposed rule in the Spring of 2012.” Wednesday was the first official day of summer. The revised version of the rule will provide less pollution ...

Also from Ben Somberg

Short Bio needs to be uploaded.

Simpler Government, or Secret and Unaccountable Government?

Somberg | Apr 04, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Who Will Run the EPA?

Somberg | Apr 01, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Mancini "Leads" OIRA as Deputy Administrator

Somberg | Mar 13, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

There is Now No OIRA Administrator

Somberg | Mar 11, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Robert Glicksman Testifies in House Hearing on Regulatory Policy

Somberg | Feb 28, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

The Center for Progressive Reform

455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150-513
Washington, DC 20001
info@progressivereform.org
202.747.0698

© Center for Progressive Reform, 2015