So far as regulatory safeguards are concerned, we've come a long way in 27 months. The Obama Administration started with federal agencies that had been devastated by eight years of an explicitly anti-regulatory president. Turning that around is not easy, and no President could do it in a day. So, as much as you see a lot of criticism in this space, you also see praise, because we've seen this Administration make important progress. From new rules on lead paint removal to construction crane safety to regulating greenhouse gases, there's a lot to applaud -- changes that will make real differences in people's lives.
But there are also a lot of rulemakings or other initiatives that fall somewhere in the "pending" category. Delay has a real cost in human health and lives. But the problem's not just that. It's that for many of these important safeguards, the administration runs the risk of not completing them at all, or not during this term. The political pressures against some of these health and safety protections in the name of maintaining industry business as usual can be huge.
A new CPR white paper today, Twelve Crucial Health, Safety, and Environmental Regulations: Will the Obama Administration Finish in Time?, identifies key rules that are critical but unfinished, and urges the administration to adopt a sense of urgency. Nine of the twelve regulations in the report are named as being in danger of not being completed during the President's first term. Those nine rules are:
The report says that three factors will play an outsized role in whether the Administration finishes in time:
As CPR President Rena Steinzor said in releasing the report, "We’re now 27 months into the Administration, and the practical window for getting some of these rules done will begin to close next summer. The hard truth is that we’re not seeing the necessary sense of urgency."
The CPR report is written by Member Scholars Amy Sinden and Rena Steinzor, and Policy Analysts Matthew Shudtz, James Goodwin, Yee Huang, and Lena Pons. A number of CPR scholars, acknowledged in the report, also contributed their expertise on particular regulatory issues.