Judge Feldman is Still Mad

by Holly Doremus | February 18, 2011

Cross-posted from Legal Planet.

You may remember Judge Martin Feldman from his decisions last summer enjoining enforcement of Interior’s first effort at a deepwater drilling moratorium, and more recently declaring that the Department must pay the legal fees of the plaintiffs in that case because it was in contempt of the injunction order. (For my take on those decisions see here and here.)

No doubt the Department wished it could just slink out of the Gulf and never have to face Judge Feldman again. But all good things come in threes, right? And on Thursday Interior reached three of kind; three big losses in Judge Feldman’s courtroom that is.

This latest ruling orders BOEMRE (the Interior bureau in charge of offshore drilling) to act on five pending applications for permission to drill in the Gulf within 30 days. As I understand the ruling, all of these applications are for wells for which there is an approved exploration plan. Even after that approval the OCSLA allows, and Interior regulations require, an additional approval step before drilling. Whereas the statute sets up a 30-day deadline for review of the exploration plan, it does not specify a deadline for review of the application for a permit to drill. Nor do the regulations. Last month, Judge Feldman refused to set a deadline. But after additional briefing, he’s now reversed that decision.

There are some questionable ...

Steinzor Testifies at E&C Hearing on Environmental Regulation, the Economy, and Jobs

by Rena Steinzor | February 15, 2011
CPR President Rena Steinzor is testifying at 1pm today before the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. The hearing will be the latest in a string attempting to make a case that public health and safety protections must be weakened right now given the state of the economy. In her testimony, Steinzor argues: I appreciate that the majority feels it has a mandate as a result of the election. But I would urge all Members to ...

Republicans Propose Unconscionable Cuts for OSHA

by Thomas McGarity | February 14, 2011
On March 23, 2005, the worst industrial accident in 15 years killed 15 workers and injured more than 180 others as highly flammable liquids from a distillation tower were vented directly to the ground and were ignited by a spark at the huge BP Corporation Refinery in Texas City, Texas. A two-year investigation by the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSHIB) concluded that the BP Texas City refinery was “an extremely dangerous workplace by any objective standard.” An “Independent Review Panel” ...

In Discussion about Regulation on the NewsHour, Darrell Issa Gets Casual with the Truth

by Matthew Freeman | February 11, 2011
On last night’s PBS NewsHour, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, took a shot at CPR’s Sidney Shapiro, who was the lone witness that Committee Democrats were allowed to invite to testify at yesterday’s  hearing on the costs of regulation. Issa badly mischaracterized Shapiro’s testimony, saying: The minority chose a witness. Mr. Shapiro spoke on behalf of his views, which were, in a nutshell -- and he reiterated them -- that he sees no ...

What We're Reading, Oceans Edition

by Holly Doremus | February 11, 2011
Cross-posted from Legal Planet. Here’s some of what’s going on in the ocean policy world: BOEMRE is reviewing the first post-moratorium application to drill an exploratory deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico. As required by a June Notice to Lessees, Shell’s application to drill 130 miles from shore in 2000 to 2900 feet of water includes a blowout scenario. Shell anticipates that drilling a relief well would take 109 days, during which time 12.3 million barrels of oil could ...

Live-Tweeting from Issa Hearing on Regulation

by Matthew Freeman | February 10, 2011
We'll be live-tweeting today's hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Follow @CPRBlog. ...

CPR's Noah Sachs in New Republic on REINS

by Matthew Freeman | February 10, 2011
CPR Member Scholar Noah Sachs has a piece on The New Republic's website dismantling the GOP House majority's favority piece of anti-regulatory legislation, the REINS Act.  The proposal would block all regulations from taking effect unless they are specifically approved by both houses of Congress within 70 days of submission and then signed into effect by the President. He writes: Last year, [the Office of Management and Budget] concluded that the annual cost of major rules issued between FY 1999 and ...

CPR's Shapiro Testifies this Morning on Benefits of Regulation

by Matthew Freeman | February 10, 2011
This morning, CPR Member Scholar Sidney Shapiro will testify before Rep. Darrell Issa's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the economic value of regulation.  He'll be a lone voice on the roster of witnesses.  The hearing will have two panels of witnesses.  The first will feature five industry representatives, and the second will feature two representatives of right-wing think tanks (Heritage and Mercatus), one leader of a nonprofit that advocates for small businesses, and Shapiro.  That would be eight witnesses ...

The Issa Letters: Republicans Go Hunting for Regulations

by Rena Steinzor | February 10, 2011
GOP leaders in the House of Representatives will push a resolution today directing the various committees of the House to “inventory and review existing, pending, and proposed regulations and orders from agencies of the federal government, particularly with respect to their effect on jobs and economic growth.” Thus begins what Republicans and their industry friends hope will be a productive hunting season in the rich woods of regulatory safeguards that protect public health, worker and consumer safety, and the environment. Not ...

Contempt? Not by Interior

by Holly Doremus | February 09, 2011
Cross-posted from Legal Planet. Conservative media and bloggers are making much of a ruling last week by Judge Martin Feldman of the Eastern District of Louisiana that the Department of Interior was in contempt of his June 2010 order enjoining enforcement of the May moratorium on new deepwater exploratory drilling for oil. The Washington Times, for example, accused the administration of “tempt[ing] a constitutional confrontation.” Not so fast. Judge Feldman’s latest decision says more about the contempt of some conservative ...

With Friends Like These..... White House Throws OSHA Under the Bus

by Celeste Monforton | February 08, 2011
Cross-posted from The Pump Handle. I was already tired of President Obama repeating the Republican's rhetoric about big, bad regulations, how they stifle job creation, put an unnecessary burden on businesses, and make our economy less competitive. He did so last month in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and in his State of the Union address. But yesterday, the White House went too far. In advance of the President's speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the chief ...

SBA's Report on 'Costs of Regulation' Debunked

by Sidney Shapiro | February 08, 2011
Having voted to repeal health care legislation, House Republicans have now taken aim at government regulations, describing efforts to protect people and the environment as “job-killing.”  This claim conveniently papers over the fact that it was the lack of regulation of Wall Street that tanked the economy and caused the current downturn.  But nonetheless, seeking rhetorical points to boost their anti-regulations campaign, House Republicans are trumpeting a recent report, done for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. The report, authored ...

EPA's Leisurely Timeline on Perchlorate Announcement Leaves Effort Vulnerable to Being Undercut

by Rena Steinzor | February 02, 2011
Today's announcement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that EPA will move toward regulating perchlorate, reversing a decision by the George W. Bush Administration, is bittersweet. It’s great that EPA has recognized the need to regulate, but the agency has adopted such a leisurely timeline that the entire effort could end up being undercut. The agency said: "EPA intends to publish the proposed regulation and analyses for public review and comment within 24 months. EPA will consider the public comments and ...

Location, Location, Location: Assisted Migration May be Coming Closer to a Reality as a Response to Climate Change

by Yee Huang | February 01, 2011
a(broad) perspective While discussion of adapting to climate change is finally beginning to take off in the United States, other governments from Bangladesh to the Netherlands have already laid the foundation to develop concrete policies and implement strategies to address the impacts. Last week, a report released by the UK’s Environment Agency specifically identified relocation of coldwater fish as a possible direct response to the effects of climate change. We're going to be hearing a lot more in the coming years about ...

The President Muffed it on Salmon

by Dan Rohlf | January 28, 2011
In his State of the Union speech to Congress Tuesday night, President Obama suggested that reducing inefficient federal bureaucracy can help reduce federal spending and promote economic growth. Stretching to find a lighthearted example of government ineptness, the President quipped that “the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked." This remark may have elicited ...

The GOP Majority Weighs in on Regulatory Reform

by Rena Steinzor | January 26, 2011
On Capitol Hill this morning, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is holding a hearing on what it describes as the “Views of the Administration on Regulatory Reform.” The star witness will be Cass Sunstein, head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, better known as the “regulatory czar” of the Obama Administration. As you might have read already in this space, last week the President launched a new regulatory initiative in which ...

New CPR Report says State Plans for Chesapeake Bay Restoration Not Strong Enough to Get the Job Done

by Ben Somberg | January 25, 2011
Momentum for Chesapeake Bay restoration has advanced significantly in the past two years, shaped by the combination of President Obama’s Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration Executive Order and the EPA’s Bay-wide Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process. These federal initiatives, taken in partnership with the Bay states, required the Bay states and the District of Columbia to submit Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) to demonstrate how they will meet the pollution targets in the applicable TMDLs. In August, CPR sent the ...

The BP Oil Spill and the Disappearing Louisiana Coast

by Daniel Farber | January 24, 2011
Cross-posted from Legal Planet. In his book Bayou Farewell, Mike Tidwell tells some haunting stories about the rapid disappearance of the Louisiana coast from his time with Cajun fisherman.  Here’s one story: “We all pile into the crab boat and Tim tells his son to head down the bayou. A few hundred feet away . . . Tim points toward a watery stretch of march grass oddly littered with bricks and concrete. “’It’s a cemetery,’ he says. “There, shockingly, along ...

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