CPR Archive for Rena Steinzor

CPR Announces New Executive Director: Jake Caldwell

by Rena Steinzor | January 03, 2012

It’s my great pleasure to announce that the Board of Directors of CPR has selected Jake Caldwell to serve as our new executive director. He succeeds Shana Jones, who earlier this year announced she would be leaving CPR to teach environmental policy at Old Dominion University. 

Jake comes to CPR after six years at the Center for American Progress, where he was the Director of Policy for Agriculture, Trade and Energy. His research and writing in that capacity frequently focused on environmental issues, including climate change regulation, renewable energy financing, clean energy and conservation, biofuel production and more. From November 2008 to January 2009, Jake served as a member of President Obama’s Transition Team, in the Energy and Natural Resources Section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agency Review. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, teaching a course on International Environmental Law and Trade. Jake has also worked with the Clinton Global Initiative’s Global Poverty Working Group and the National Wildlife Federation, among others.

Jake brings a wealth of experience to CPR with the environmental and regulatory issues that are the core of our work, and knows how to make scholarship influential in the political and policymaking process. I know CPR will grow and flourish with his leadership. He will assume his new position next week.

I’ll end with the warmest farewell to Shana Jones. Shana presided over ...

Obama Administration vs. Obama Administration: Are Regulations a Problem in this Economy?

by Rena Steinzor | December 15, 2011
The Obama Administration is sending mixed messages. On the one hand, several top economic officials have noted the extensive evidence that a lack of demand, rather than regulation, is the cause of a slow economic recovery and low job creation. Yet the President himself has contradicted his economic advisers on the issue in a misguided effort to pander to industry concerns, leaving the Administration’s message confused. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, hardly the most progressive force in the Administration, said in ...

Don Blankenship Still Needs to Be Prosecuted

by Rena Steinzor | December 06, 2011
Booth Goodwin, the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of West Virginia, and Attorney General Eric Holder announced today a landmark settlement with Alpha Natural Resources, the coal company that bought out its rival Massey Energy after a catastrophic explosion deep within the Big Branch mine killed 29 miners.  Alpha recently announced that its third quarter 2011 profits had more than doubled in the wake of its purchase of  Massey, up to $66 million in the quarter.  The settlement requires ...

David Brooks on OIRA

by Rena Steinzor | December 06, 2011
New York Times columnist David Brooks weighs in this morning on CPR’s latest report, Behind Closed Doors at the White House: How Politics Trumps Protection of Health, Worker Safety and the Environment. To his credit, he begins by dismissing one of congressional Republicans’ principal lines of argument for 2011 – that an imagined tsunami of Obama Administration regulatory excess is somehow at the root of the nation’s economic distress. In fact, almost any economist will tell you that we got ...

New Report: Behind Closed Doors at the White House, Obama Administration Politicizes the Regulatory Process

by Rena Steinzor | November 28, 2011
When former Harvard Law Professor and eclectic intellectual Cass Sunstein was named administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), conservative, industry-oriented Wall Street Journal editorial writers enthused that his appointment was a “promising sign.” A slew of subsequent events has proved their optimism well placed, as we have noted repeatedly in CPRBlog.  But nothing beats hard, empirical evidence.  In a report released today, CPR announces the results of an exhaustive six-month analysis of the barebones information OIRA ...

Too Big to Rein in, BP Continues Galloping Along, Unbridled and Unrepentant

by Rena Steinzor | October 19, 2011
In perhaps the most profoundly embarrassing development yet for the U.S. government’s star-crossed efforts to police offshore drilling, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced last week that it was asking BP, Transocean, and Halliburton to pay a total of up to $45.7 million in fines for 15 violations arising out of the catastrophic failure of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s million, not billion, by the way, and a total for all three companies, ...

Executive Order 13,563: Not Just Costs, Not Just Benefits, But Cumulative Costs and Benefits

by Rena Steinzor | October 18, 2011
Proving the old adage that you must be careful what you wish for, conservative officials in 25 states have done their best to hoist the Obama Administration on its own petard by running off to court to oppose the EPA rule that would curb toxic emissions from power plants. They argue, among other things, that the agency had not itemized the “cumulative” costs of this and all other electric-utility-oriented regulations under Executive Order 13,563 and needed at least another year to ...

House Votes to Give Coal Ash Dumps a Free Pass; President Stops Short of Veto Threat

by Rena Steinzor | October 17, 2011
The residents of Kingston, Tennessee had no inkling that the Christmas of 2008 would be any different than another year. In the wee morning hours three days before the holiday, an earthen dam holding back a 40-acre surface impoundment at a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) power plant burst, releasing 1 billion gallons of inky coal ash sludge across Kingston, Tennessee. The sludge flood crossed a river, destroying 26 houses. One had a man inside, and was lifted off its foundation and ...

Beware of Plastics Manufacturers Bearing Gifts of BPA Bans

by Rena Steinzor | October 14, 2011
This post was co-authored by CPR President Rena Steinzor and CPR Policy Analyst Aimee Simpson. In what at first glance seemed to be a startlingly uncharacteristic move, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to update and strengthen its food additive regulation that sets out the approved uses for polycarbonate resins.   For those who don’t speak plastic, “polycarbonate resin” refers to plastic that contains bisphenol-A or “BPA”—an endocrine-disrupting chemical with significant health risks, especially for babies. Polycarbonate ...

Obama and Ozone: Executing Regulation by Presidential Order

by Rena Steinzor | October 06, 2011
The blog post was co-authored by Rena Steinzor and James Goodwin. When President Obama issued his new Executive Order 13563 this past January – the one calling on agencies to “look-back” at existing regulations –speculation abounded as to what, if any effect, it would have on agencies’ rulemaking. Setting aside the look-back plan provisions (and the President’s unproductive anti-regulation rhetoric in the Wall Street Journal), the new Order didn’t seem to add much to the 18-year-old Executive Order 12866, save for ...

Landry Calls Civil Servants the 'Gestapo.' Who Should Apologize?

by Rena Steinzor | September 21, 2011
In a dispiriting reminder that the more things change, the more they remain the same, Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) plucked a page from former Rep. Tom Delay’s playbook, denouncing federal civil servants as “the Gestapo” because when he popped into a local office unannounced and without an appointment last week, staff kept him waiting for 20 minutes. When federal deepwater drilling permit chief Michael Bromwich objected to Landry’s appalling rhetoric, the Representative doubled down on idiotic and demanded that Bromwich apologize. Both ...

CPR Seeks Executive Director

by Rena Steinzor | September 19, 2011
I regret to report that CPR is losing its outstanding executive director, Shana Jones.  Shana’s tenure has produced a true CPR success story, when the organization stabilized on the funding front and its staff began steady growth.  When Shana joined us, CPR staff was half its current size.  In great measure because of her steady hand at the tiller, we’ve developed in almost every significant way since then. Our budget and staff are bigger, our profile is higher, our mission ...

More Anti-EPA Shenanigans? Is IRIS Next on the Hit List? We'll Be Watching

by Rena Steinzor | September 08, 2011
From what we hear, EPA is not a happy place these days, and we don’t wonder why. Never did a hard-pressed staff deserve so much guff, less. Politico reported that the White House is treating Lisa Jackson with kid gloves, hoping against hope that she won’t up and quit on them over the outrageous White House trashing of the efforts to update an outmoded, unhealthy, and legally indefensible 1997 ozone standard. Good thinking for a change. With the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sending ...

Choking on Smog for Another Few Years

by Rena Steinzor | September 02, 2011
In perhaps the most troubling sign of his determination to pander to business at the expense of public health, President Obama announced this morning that he had blocked EPA’s science-based efforts to lower the levels of smog that drive children and the elderly inside on Code Red days. Automobile manufacturers, power plant operators, the oil industry, and the Chamber of Commerce are breaking out the champagne, while the public health community despairs of the President who promised so much and has ...

Regulatory Look-Back Plans: No One Celebrates

by Rena Steinzor | August 23, 2011
The final agency regulatory “look-back” plans, released by the White House this morning, don’t appear to satisfy anyone. They fall far short of their obvious goal: to placate greedy and intemperate industry demands that major rules be cancelled. And they distress public interest advocates, who fear they will preoccupy agencies with make-work at the expense of crucial life-saving initiatives. The plans themselves, at first look, are largely well-intentioned given the assignment the agencies were given. The EPA plan discusses, for instance, how ...

When Politics Trump Science: How the Ozone Standard's Three-Year Delay Has Already Led to Thousands of Avoidable Deaths

by Rena Steinzor | July 20, 2011
This post was written by CPR President Rena Steinzor and Policy Analyst James Goodwin. Few incidents better illustrate the Bush Administration’s outright hostility to politically inconvenient science than its 2008 rule updating the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). In the run-up to that rule, Bush’s EPA ignored the unanimous recommendation of the Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC), an independent and well-respected advisor to the EPA on clean air issues, that it set the standard in the range of ...

The Big Business Dilemma: What Could Happen When Government Is Gone

by Rena Steinzor | July 14, 2011
The nation’s capital is all but intolerable these days, even for those of us who have lived here for decades and are used to excessive histrionics and gross summer weather. A pall of bad, hot, wet air has settled over the place, and serves as a backdrop to the slow-motion car wreck that is the debt ceiling negotiations—in every sense a crisis of political creation. In the midst of this misery, a small spark of comic relief was provided yesterday by ...

Cass Sunstein and the Obama Legacy

by Rena Steinzor | June 28, 2011
Cross-posted from ACSblog. A series of catastrophic regulatory failures in recent years has focused attention on the weakened condition of regulatory agencies assigned to protect public health, worker and consumer safety, and the environment. The failures are the product of a destructive convergence of funding shortfalls, political attacks, and outmoded legal authority, setting the stage for ineffective enforcement and unsupervised industry self-regulation. From the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed eleven and caused grave environmental and ...

Also from Rena Steinzor

Rena Steinzor is a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and a past president of the Center for Progressive Reform. She is the author of Why Not Jail? Industrial Catastrophes, Corporate Malfeasance, and Government Inaction.

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