Thought We Wouldn't Notice: Blanche Lincoln Quietly Switches to New Version of Debunked SBA Regulatory Costs Stat

by Ben Somberg | August 12, 2011

Former Senator Blanche Lincoln, now heading the National Federation of Independent Business’s new anti-regulatory campaign, faced criticism in recent days for citing the debunked SBA study claiming regulations cost $1.75 trillion in a year. The NFIB used that stat last week in launching its campaign (see ThinkProgress), and Lincoln cited the number in a National Journal forum post on Monday:

While some federal regulations are important, it costs the U.S. economy a staggering $1.75 trillion a year to comply with them, according to a report commissioned by the Small Business Administration last September.

Two respondents on the forum, CPR President Rena Steinzor and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman, specifically criticized Lincoln’s use of the thoroughly debunked number. In a new post Wednesday, Lincoln didn’t mention “$1.75 trillion” but instead wrote:

Currently, federal regulations are draining nearly 12 percent of U.S. GDP annually.

Where’d that new number come from? ...

Legs of Two 17-Year-Olds Severed in Grain Auger, White House Sits on Young Worker Safety Rule

by Celeste Monforton | August 12, 2011
Cross-posted from The Pump Handle. Tyler Zander, 17 and Bryce Gannon, 17 were working together on Thursday, August 4 at the Zaloudek Grain Co. in Kremlin, Oklahoma. They were operating a large floor grain aguer when something went terribly wrong. Oklahoma's News9.com reports that Bryce Gannon's legs became trapped in the auger, Tyler Zander went to his friend's aid and his legs also were pulled into the heavy machinery. Emergency rescue personnel had to cut apart the 12-inch metal auger ...

With Updates to EPCRA Reporting Rules, EPA Has Another Opportunity to Better Protect Workers

by Matt Shudtz | August 11, 2011
On Monday, EPA announced its intention to revise the emergency planning rules for industrial facilities. The goal of the revisions is to give state and local emergency planning committees better information that they can use to prepare for chemical spills, explosions, and other disasters at industrial facilities. In the initial proposal released Monday, EPA disregards a request from first responders that the new rules demand more information about the total number of people likely to be on-site during an emergency situation. EPA is ...

Chairman Issa's NLRB Subpoena: An Unprecedented Effort to Thwart the Legal Process

by Sidney Shapiro | August 10, 2011
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has a Friday deadline to respond to a subpoena issued by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.). The subpoena seeks "[a]ll documents and communications relating to the [NLRB's] Office of General Counsel's investigation of Boeing..." prior to the time the NLRB issued its complaint against the company. The NLRB has alleged the company created a second assembly line at a nonunion plant in South Carolina to build its 787 Dreamliner in order to ...

Nevada Court's Public Trust Decision A Welcome Addition to Growing Body of Protection for State Lands and Resources

by Alexandra Klass | August 08, 2011
Last month, the Nevada Supreme Court held in Lawrence v. Clark County that the public trust doctrine limited the ability of the state to freely alienate certain lands that, though dry at the time of the decision, were submerged under navigable waters at the time of statehood. The case is significant for at least two reasons. First, the court made clear that the public trust doctrine in Nevada places inherent limitations on state power and cannot be easily abrogated by state legislation, ...

Platinum Industry Tries a DQA Complaint the Bush Administration Wouldn't Even Accept

by Matt Shudtz | August 05, 2011
On Monday, the International Platinum Group Metals Association submitted a Data Quality Act complaint (pdf) to EPA regarding a draft toxicological review of halogenated platinum salts and platinum compounds. This one ought to go straight to the agency’s recycling bin. IPA, as the trade group calls itself, is complaining that the draft document, released by EPA’s IRIS office in 2009 for peer review and public comment, does not meet the standards of objectivity and utility required under the DQA and its ...

IUR Update a Good Start, But a Missed Opportunity for Worker Health and Safety

by Matt Shudtz | August 04, 2011
On Tuesday, EPA finalized important revisions to its Inventory Update Rule (IUR), which is the federal government’s primary means of finding out what chemicals are being produced or used, where they’re being produced and used, and in what quantities. The revisions close up some major loopholes created by the Bush administration and should give the agency more accurate data for its chemical management program, which GAO tagged in 2009 as being at “high risk” of becoming ineffective. EPA made some important ...

Austan Goolsbee, on Daily Show, Defends Regulations

by Ben Somberg | August 04, 2011
Austan Goolsbee, outgoing Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, took to the Daily Show on Wednesday for one last sit-down with Jon Stewart. Stewart included a question on regulations (part 2, at 3:55), and Goolsbee gave a spirited defense: Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Stewart: Does the president believe business is overregulated? Does he think we are bureaucratically so snafu-d and entangled that that is the problem with the economy right now? Goolsbee: As a general ...

Draft Scientific Integrity Policies Due from Agencies; Progress Unclear

by Matt Shudtz | August 03, 2011
Today marks 90 days since the last milestone in the White House’s push toward improvements in federal agencies’ scientific integrity policies. Agencies that have made progress in this time ought to release their draft plans and open them to public comment.  From an outsider’s perspective, there hasn’t been much progress to evaluate recently. It’s something we’ve gotten used to—after an initial push, this administration has not presented much of a sense of urgency in its efforts to set up new scientific integrity ...

Skipping Rulemaking Process with Backroom Fuel Economy Deal, White House Opened Itself to Darrell Issa's Attack

by Shana Campbell Jones | August 01, 2011
Amy Sinden and Lena Pons explained in this space on Friday morning how the White House’s fuel economy deal with the auto industry bypassed the rulemaking process and the agency experts charged with determining the “maximum feasible” standard under the law. Late Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, joined the fray, promising an investigation of the process. (And we didn’t even know he was a reader of CPRBlog!) Chairman Issa’s notion that the ...

EPA Moves Forward Toward Test Rule for BPA; Effects on Humans Still Primarily Outside Scope of Process

by Aimee Simpson | July 29, 2011
EPA made further progress this week in its efforts to move forward with a potential Bisphenol-A (BPA) Test Rule, publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register. Overall this progress is good news, though it’s not without its flaws. EPA completed a draft of the ANPRM in December and sent it over to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review, pursuant to Executive Order 12866. Despite a 10-working-day deadline for review of ANPRMs, OIRA spent ...

White House Flouts Agency Heads, Rolls Out Backroom Deal on Fuel Economy Standard

by Amy Sinden | July 29, 2011
This post was written by Member Scholar Amy Sinden and Policy Analyst Lena Pons. This morning President Obama will make an announcement about upcoming fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2017-2025. The announcement will reference the Administration’s plan to propose a standard to reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. These standards will set the pace at which automakers improve the fuel economy of cars for many years to come, and help ...

Amidst GOP Anti-Regulatory Budget Riders, a Familiar Plan for Paralysis by Analysis

by James Goodwin | July 28, 2011
House Republicans are fond of accusing the Obama Administration of trying to “regulate when it cannot legislate.” With a slight modification, a similar accusation can be hurled at House Republicans: They are trying to appropriate when they cannot legislate. This accusation has the benefit of actually being true. The Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bill for the EPA and the Department of Interior, currently being debated in the People’s House, is loaded down with dozens of anti-environment and anti-public safety policy riders.   Several of ...

Holding its Legal (and Parental) Ground: EPA Responds to the American Chemistry Council's Request for Correction of the BPA Action Plan

by Aimee Simpson | July 26, 2011
Being a parent is not easy, but some of the most difficult moments arise when you know what needs to be done to protect your child and your child has other sentiments. Call it a temper tantrum, a battle of wills, or disobedience, it all evokes a sense of frustration, exhaustion, and, let’s face it, self-doubt. There is that brief moment when you think to yourself, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to let them have their way? Maybe I am being too harsh ...

Milward v. Acuity Specialty Products: How the First Circuit Opened Courthouse Doors for Wronged Parties to Present Wider Range of Scientific Evidence

by Carl Cranor | July 25, 2011
In Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceutical,  General Electric. v. Joiner, and Kumho Tire v. Carmichael the U.S. Supreme Court sought to bring principles for reviewing expert testimony in line with the Federal Rules of Evidence. The opinions sought  to ensure that legal arguments would better comport with the pertinent science needed for the legal cases at issue. To achieve this goal the court gave trial judges a greter duty to review expert testimony for relevance and reliability before plaintiffs could bring ...

UK Report: Behavioral Change Takes More Than a Nudge

by Holly Doremus | July 22, 2011
No one seems to like the idea of regulation these days. Nudges, alternatives that try to get people to voluntarily alter their behavior by changing the context in which they make decisions, have been widely touted as a better approach. Cass Sunstein, Obama’s “regulatory czar” in the Office of Management and Budget, is a leading proponent of the “nudging” idea, and the co-author of a popular book promoting the concept that people should be gently helped to make better decisions ...

EPA Finalizes Mountaintop Removal Guidance

by Holly Doremus | July 21, 2011
Cross-posted from Legal Planet. After a three-and-a-half month delay for White House review, EPA has finalized its guidance for review of mountaintop removal mining permits in Appalachia. I needn’t have worried that the White House would roll EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on this one. The final guidance maintains the strong stand EPA took last April when it issued the interim guidance it finalized today. The thrust of this final version, like the interim guidance, is that EPA will actually exercise ...

Facing up to the Real Cost of Carbon

by Frank Ackerman | July 21, 2011
This item, cross-posted from Triple Crisis, was written by CPR Member Scholar Frank Ackerman and fellow Stockholm Environment Institute-U.S. Center economist Elizabeth A. Stanton. Your house might not burn down next year. So you could probably save money by cancelling your fire insurance. That’s a “bargain” that few homeowners would accept. But it’s the same deal that politicians have accepted for us, when it comes to insurance against climate change. They have rejected sensible investments in efficiency and clean energy, ...

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