Joint Letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler re Regulatory Science Proposal. CPR joins in comments from 77 organizations calling on Wheeler to withdraw a proposal from his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, that would distort the science used in the agency's rulemaking, August 15, 2018.
Joint Letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler re Cost-Benefit Analysis Proposal from CPR Member Scholars. Nineteen CPR Member Scholars joined in comments calling on Wheeler to withdraw an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking on cost-benefit analysis. August 13, 2018.
Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen: Seven Executive Orders for the President's First 100 Days, By CPR Member Scholars Rebecca M. Bratspies, David M. Driesen, Robert L. Fischman, Sheila Foster, Eileen Gauna, Robert L. Glicksman, Alexandra B. Klass, Catherine A. O’Neill, Sidney Shapiro, Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, Robert R.M. Verchick, and Wendy Wagner, and CPR Policy Analyst James Goodwin
In 2014, the Center for Progressive Reform issued a report identifying 13 key regulatory actions that the Obama administration should be certain to finish before June of 2016, in order to ensure that the rules would 1) make it out of the regulatory pipeline during Obama's tenure, and 2) be finalized in time to be safe from repeal by the successor administration. In 2016, CPR followed up to see whether the Obama administration had adopted the necessary sense of urgency. (Read the online version of this report for the 2016 updates.)
On June 5, 2019, the Center for Progressive Reform hosted a first-of-its-kind, one-day convening that brought together a diverse group of more than 60 progressive activists and academics. Our purpose was to begin the process of developing a progressive vision of the U.S. regulatory system – one that is not only robust and responsive enough to meet the immediate challenge of protecting people and the environment against unacceptable risks, but that also is institutionally designed to promote the broader social goals of justice and equity. CPR's James Goodwin synthesized the ideas into a report.
Joint Letter to Members of Congress from the Clean Budget Coalition urging passage of remaining FY19 appropriations bills without "poison pill" ideological policy riders, November 13, 2018.
In the first four months of his presidency, Donald Trump and his congressional allies used the Congressional Review Act to repeal 14 Obama era health, safety, labor, financial, education, energy, environmental rules. The law allows Congress to block "major" rules within 60 legislative days of adoption, with a joint resolution (not subject to the Senate's normal 60-vote requirement) and president's signature. CPR tracked the damage.
Following up on CPR's June 2019 Regulation as Social Justice Conference, and the subsequent report on it, on December 11, 2019, Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and CPR's Amy Sinden and James Goodwin discussed the future of regulation, and how it can do a better job of serving the interests of the political dispossessed.
Corporate capture of regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency has long been a barrier to promulgation and enforcement of effective safeguards. But under the Trump administration, it has progressed to a dizzying degree of brazenness, helping to power the president’s dangerous assault on public safeguards. In Deregulation on Demand, CPR's James Goodwin, working with researchers from the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, documents the extent to which corporate capture by polluters played a role in the dismantling of the Clean Power Plan.
In the first few months of the Trump administration, Congress invoked a rarely used, little-known law called the Congressional Review Act to repeal a host of health, safety, and environmental regulations adopted during the Obama administration after years of consideration and public input. CPR tracked the congressional assault on our safeguards. See our chart from May 2017 detailing the damage.
In her compelling 2007 book, Mother Earth and Uncle Sam: How Pollution and Hollow Government Hurt Our Kids, published by the University of Texas Press, Professor Rena Steinzor highlights the ways in which the United States government has failed to protect children from harm caused by toxic chemicals. She believes these failures – driven by willful under-funding, excessive and misguided use of cost/benefit analysis, distortion of science, and devolution of regulatory authority – have produced a situation in which serious harms that could be readily reduced or eliminated are instead allowed to persist.
In 2014, about 300,000 people in and around Charleston, West Virginia, lost their drinking water source when thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical known as MCHM (4-methylcyclohexanemethanol) leaked into the nearby Elk River through a hole in a rusted-out storage tank. In 2015, the wheels of justice began to catch up with the owners of the responsible company when they were indicted by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Coincidentally, the West Virginia indictments came down on the same day that the Justice Department charged 14 people in Massachusetts for their role in producing and distributing meningitis-tainted steroid injections that killed 64 people. Rena Steinzor in Huffinton Post on prosecuting corporate violence.
Prosecutors have long neglected to hold corporate executives accountable for chronic mistakes that kill and injure workers and customers. Rena Steinzor's first-of-its-kind book analyzes five industrial catastrophes that have killed or sickened consumers and workers or caused irrevocable harm to the environment. From the Texas City refinery explosion to the Upper Big Branch mine collapse to the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and extending to incidents of food and drug contamination that have killed or injured hundreds, the root causes of these preventable disasters include crimes of commission and omission. In accessible and jargon-free language, Steinzor recommends innovative interpretations of existing laws to elevate the prosecution of white-collar crime at the federal and state levels.
Over the last quarter century, much of the focus of federal regulatory policy in the areas of health, safety, and the environment has been gradually redirected away from protecting Americans against various harms and toward protecting corporate interests from the plain meaning of protective statutes. This book delivers precisely what its title promises, a re-imagining of federal policy in these areas, with particular focus on the regulatory process. It identifies the failings of the current approach to regulation and proposes innovative, straightforward, and practical solutions for the 21st Century. The 2004, A New Progressive Agenda for Public Health and the Environment, was a seminal collaboration among the Member Scholars of the Center for Progressive Reform (then called the Center for Progressive Regulation).
Published in July 2006, Rescuing Science from Politics debuted chapters by the nation's leading academics in law, science, and philosophy who explore ways that the law can be abused by special interests to intrude on the way scientists conduct research. The book begins by establishing non-controversial principles of good scientific practice. These principles then serve as the benchmark against which each chapter author compares how science is misused in a specific regulatory setting and assist in isolating problems in the integration of science by the regulatory process.
On the Center for American Progress website, Rena Steinzor writes that, when asked about his environmental record during the second presidential debate this fall, President Bush rattled off a series of well focus-grouped phrases – “clean coal,” “clear skies,” and “mak[ing] sure our forests aren’t vulnerable to forest fires” – and touted himself as a “good steward of the land.” The rhetoric ignored reality.
Writing for The Regulatory Review, Rena Steinzor and Wendy Wagner observe that "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt recently opened another front in his battle to redirect the agency away from its mission to protect human health and the environment. This time, he cobbled together a proposed rule that would drastically change how science is considered during the regulatory process."
"No matter how many times the word, 'transparency,' is repeated to characterize" a Trump administration proposal on the use of science in regulation, "its effects would reverse progress," write Rena Steinzor and Wedny Wagner on The Regulatory Review's pages.
Writing for the Center for American Progress website, Christopher Schroeder and Rena Steinzor, co-editors of CPR's book, A New Progressive Agenda for Public Health and the Environment, offer a summary of the work, which features contributions from 20 CPR Member Scholars.
With the calendar running out of pages on Donald Trump's first term, EPA is pushing hard to adopt its "benefits-busting" rule, hoping to defeat efforts to implement the Clear Air Act's protections by tilting the cost-benefit analysis process ever more to industry's favor. James Goodwin offers an analysis of the effort.
On August 3, 2020, several CPR Member Scholars and staff joined in submitting comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “benefits-busting” proposal, designed to drastically overhaul how the agency performs cost-benefit analysis on its biggest Clean Air Act rules. The proposal is a thinly veiled effort to rig the results of those analyses – more so than they already are – to make it harder to issue appropriately strong safeguards, thereby sabotaging the effective and timely implementation of the Clean Air Act.
Led by the Center for Progressive Reform, a number of public interest organizations submitted comments to the EPA on August 3, 2020, opposing the agency's efforts to rewrite its cost-benefit analysis methodology as it applies to the Clean Air Act. The "benefits-busting" proposal would tilt the playing field even further than it already is toward industry's profit-making interests at the expense of Americans' health.
In this briefing memo for participants in CPR's June 5, 2019, Regulation as Social Justice conference, James Goodwin sets the table for discussions aimed at devising reforms for the regulatory system so that it can do a better job promoting social justice and addressing unmet community needs.
CPR's Rena Steinzor, writing in The Regulatory Review, takes on conservatives' conspiracy-mongering around the so-called "Deep State." She writes: "No matter when President Trump walks out the door, his Administration has caused irreparable injury. Civil servants are demoralized. The civil service does not look like a promising career path for young scientists or other professionals who interpret, translate into policy, or defend scientists’ work. Unless leaders in politics, science, economics, law, and other relevant professions declare a cease fire, the damage could be with us for more than a generation."