The reporters of ProPublica continue their impressive coverage of the Bush Administration’s midnight regulations. Most of the rest of the media behaves as if the nation’s 43rd President is already out of power. But the nonprofit, wave-of-the-future-if-we’re-lucky investigative outfit has built an impressive, and frankly distressing, list of last-minute regulations – in the process driving home the point that even lame ducks can paddle furiously just below the surface.
The most recent entries on ProPublica’s list include efforts to remove the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf from the endangered species list, weaken protections against “fugitive emissions,” pull back on restrictions on the use of the antimicrobial drug cephalosporin in livestock bound for dinner tables, and eliminate a rule requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain written consent from patients before testing them for HIV and then to provide pre- and post-test counseling. Read more about these latest efforts, here.
Simultaneously, a number of agencies are cranking out new rules that would make it harder to use the Freedom of Information Act – adopting higher fees and issue more exemptions from the requirement to produce documents, and more. Read the FOIA story here.
On the hopeful side, ProPublica reports that Democrats in Congress are readying legislation to undo some of the damage.