This morning, CPR Member Scholar and University of Maryland School of Law professor Rena Steinzor testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste and Regulatory Oversight for a hearing focused on, "Oversight of Regulatory Impact Analysis for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regulations."
In her testimony, Steinzor noted the limitations of "Regulatory Impact Analysis," or RIA, which agencies are mandated to conduct on all rules they finalize and measures the rules' "costs and benefits." When measuring the costs and benefits of EPA rules geared toward protecting the public health, safety and the environment, Steinzor noted that RIA comes up short, asking the Subcommitee members,"What's the cost of preventing an asthma attack?"
However, given EPA's mandate to conduct cost-benefit analysis on all rules she said, "EPA’s work in this area is the gold standard for all other government agencies. Its elaborate studies invariably conclude that benefits exceed costs. In fact, in the case of the Clean Air Act rules reserved for especially irrational condemnation by regulated industries, benefits exceed costs by a margin of 30 to one. Rather than focus on the marginal improvements that GAO has recommended …
Today, Stewart Parnell, former peanut company executive was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in a salmonella outbreak that resulted in the deaths of nine people and the illness of 174.
CPR Member Scholar and University of Maryland School of Law professor Rena Steinzor issued the following statement in response to the sentencing:
This sentence shows that the courts are willing to drop the boom on white collar criminal defendants whose elevation of profits over safety go so far as to kill people. Parnell ordered the shipment of peanut paste contaminated by salmonella that not only killed nine people, but also produced one of the biggest recalls in food safety history. His factory was a disgusting place, with broken equipment, a leaking roof, and rodent droppings throughout. Hopefully, this kind of prosecution will motivate the Congress to fully fund FDA efforts to prevent such …
Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is holding a Hearing on legislation focused on the regulatory system entitled, "A Review of Regulatory Reform Proposals."
CPR Vice-President and Wake Forest University School of Law professor Sidney Shapiro will be testifying.
It is a good thing that Congress has directed agencies to issue regulations to achieve important social goals because these regulations have produced enormous benefits for the American people.1 Consider the following:
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates that regulatory benefits exceed regulatory costs by about 8 to 1 for significant regulations.2 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the regulatory benefits of the Clean Air Act exceed costs by a 25-to-1 ratio.3
The failure to regulate some hazards related to the workplace, the environment, product safety, food safety, and more, and the failure …
Board Pleased to Welcome New Members with Expertise in Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Conservation and Energy Infrastructure
The board of directors of the Center for Progressive Reform today announced the appointment of three new board members: Alyson Flournoy, Alice Kaswan, and Alexandra Klass.
Alyson Flournoy is the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Professor Flournoy's scholarship focuses on environmental ethics, decision-making processes under environmental and natural resource laws, and on the intersection of science and law. Her most recent work focuses on the importance of identifying the values that are embedded in the nation's environmental laws and policies. Since 1990, Professor Flournoy has served as a Trustee of Florida Defenders of the Environment (FDE), one of Florida's longest established and best respected conservation groups. “CPR’s synthesis of environmental justice …
Today, CPR Member Scholars, with a larger group of law professors, submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) v. Electric Power Supply Association.
The professors submitted the brief because, "they believe that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit made serious errors when it held that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) lacked authority to regulate operators’ rules for demand response (DR) in the wholesale electricity markets. That holding is contrary to the text, history, and structure of the Federal Power Act (FPA), which mandates that FERC must remedy 'practices . . . affecting' wholesale electricity rates to ensure such rates are just and reasonable. Moreover, it ignores FERC’s reasonable interpretation of its statutory authority."
They argue that, "FERC reasonably determined it had jurisdiction to remedy wholesale market dysfunctions with respect to demand response …
House GOP’s “Negative Earmarks” in Appropriations Bill Would Undercut Key Protections and Cost Thousands of Lives
Today, the Center for Progressive Reform released a new Issue Alert, “Earmarking Away the Public Interest: How Congressional Republicans Use Antiregulatory Appropriations Riders to Benefit Powerful Polluting Industries.” The report, by CPR Member Scholars Thomas O. McGarity of the University of Texas School of Law and Richard Murphy of Texas Tech University School of Law and CPR Senior Policy Analyst James Goodwin, examines “negative earmarks” — riders attached to must-pass appropriations bills that block agencies from taking specific actions to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
The report compares this type of attack on public safeguards, attached to legislation without public scrutiny, to the “positive” earmarks like the “Bridge to Nowhere” that Congress has moved in recent years to prevent.
The report focuses in on this week’s House consideration …
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2576, an update to the long-outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which governs regulation of toxic chemicals.
CPR Member Scholar and University of Richmond Law School professor Noah Sachs and CPR Executive Director Matthew Shudtz wrote a piece for The Hill, highlighting some crucial problems with the bill the House passed.
Both bills, for example, require EPA to move through the backlog of untested chemicals and make safety determinations. A safety determination is a ruling by the agency about whether the chemical poses ‘unreasonable risk’ to human health or the environment – a first step for further regulatory action.
But astoundingly, the House bill requires the agency to initiate only 10 chemical evaluations per year ‘subject to the availability of appropriations,’ and the Senate bill requires EPA to make these safety determinations for only 25 chemicals …
Regular readers of this blog are already well acquainted with her, but for everyone else, CPR is pleased to introduce our new workers’ rights policy analyst, Katie Weatherford.
Weatherford joins CPR after several years with the Center for Effective Government, where she was a regulatory policy analyst and advocated for strong regulations to protect public health, safety, and the environment. “Katie is insightful, thorough, and poised to be a great fit for CPR,” says Executive Director Matthew Shudtz, “along with our Scholars, I’m looking forward to working with her to fight for stronger worker health and safety protections.”
Among her achievements at CEG, Weatherford produced a report examining OSHA’s whistleblower protection program and proposing model state legislation to protect workers from retaliation. Her expertise on the subject will be invaluable as she takes on the job of working with CPR’s allies to help promote …
This morning CPR Scholar and George Washington University Law School professor Robert Glicksman will testify in support of EPA's proposed rule to regulate ozone. The Hearing, held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommitee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will focus on the potential impacts of the proposed ozone rule on manufacturing.
Glicksman's testimony corrects misinformation about the ozone rule's potential negative impact on manufacturing. He notes,
My testimony makes four key points:
This morning CPR Scholar and George Washington University Law School professor Emily Hammond will testify at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power entitled, "Quadrennial Energy Review."
According to Professor Hammond's testimony:
A critical challenge for energy policy in the United States is that it has evolved in a piecemeal fashion, focusing on specific energy resources through source-specific federal and state agencies. Creating an Interagency Task Force, as this Section does, is an important step in bridging the gaps between the enumerated agencies’ particular statutory mandates. Indeed, agencies stand to be more successful—in achieving stakeholder support and in avoiding litigation—when they coordinate their efforts and ensure that their diverse perspectives are brought to bear on major policy matters.
But the composition of the Task Force has significant gaps that will hinder—not help— the development of comprehensive energy policy. Most critical …