NEWS RELEASE: Memo to the Next President: Let's Make Government Work for All of Us
Over the past several weeks, the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) has urged the next president to take a constructive approach to our government and our system of health, safety, environmental, and financial safeguards. With Election Day just three months away, CPR is releasing a new paper that expands on those themes and provides a comprehensive blueprint for how the next president can rebuild our system of regulatory protections.
The new paper, Memo to the Next President: A Progressive Vision of Government and Protective Safeguards, calls on the next leader of the United States to put forth a positive vision of government and to ensure that our system for developing regulatory protections advances the public interest.
"The decades-long campaign against regulation and government helped set the stage for avoidable disasters such as the Flint, Michigan, water contamination crisis, and anti-regulatory rhetoric and the policy decisions it inspires will continue to cause serious damage unless something changes," said Robert Glicksman, Board Member at CPR and a co-author of the paper. "As a nation, we can chart a better course in how we talk about regulation …
NEWS RELEASE: New Report: When OSHA Gives Discounts on Danger, Workers Are Put at Risk
As Agency Prepares to Increase Maximum Penalty Levels for Workplace Health and Safety Violations, It Should Reexamine Settlement Policy
Workplace health and safety standards exist for a reason. When companies ignore them, they put their workers in significant danger. Every year, thousands of workers die on the job in the United States, and many more are seriously injured. Unfortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) tools to hold employers accountable for endangering workers have been woefully inadequate for decades. While some of those tools are slated to become stronger, a new report from the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) shows that the agency needs to seize the moment to reassess additional policies to better deter violators and prevent worker deaths and injuries.
The CPR report, OSHA's Discount on Danger: OSHA Should …
With the congressional majority continuing to gut enforcement budgets, forcing federal environmental and workplace safety agencies to cut staff, criminal prosecution of corporate bad actors is more important than ever. That's the thrust of Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar Rena Steinzor's commentary in the May/June issue of The Environmental Forum, the policy journal of the Environmental Law Institute.
As Steinzor notes in the piece:
The BP oil spill and Volkswagen emissions cheating scandals, by their size and audacity, should motivate significant changes in the approach to criminal environmental enforcement, and if those changes make the federal Department of Justice more aggressive, they will come just in time, because EPA and the states’ routine civil enforcement is arguably in worse shape than at any time since the agency was created 46 years ago. EPA has endured a decade of deep budget cuts …
NEWS RELEASE: New Paper Shows Americans Hurt By Forced Arbitration Agreements with Big Banks, Credit Card Companies
Forthcoming Rule from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Offers Some Solutions, but More Can Be Done to Protect Consumers
Opening a checking account or using a credit card is an essential, everyday activity for many Americans, but most financial services are governed by pages of fine print, much of which is difficult to navigate and understand. As a new paper from the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) shows, these contracts often contain forced arbitration clauses that severely restrict consumer rights and frustrate corporate accountability.
The CPR paper, Regulating Forced Arbitration in Consumer Financial Services: Re-Opening the Courthouse Doors to Victimized Consumers, is being released the day before a widely anticipated proposed rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). CPR and other consumer protection experts expect the proposal to restrict the …
Lisa Heinzerling, a Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar and Georgetown University Professor of Law, published a piece this week on The Conversation that explores the ongoing political debate over environmental regulations.
In particular, Heinzerling calls out the often misleading claims about the costs of safeguards that protect our air, water, health, and wild places:
Specifically, the 2010 Small Business Administration regulatory costs study misinterpreted a World Bank database and drew unsupportable conclusions from it. The study also included the costs of rules that did not exist because either agencies or courts pulled them back. It relied on a 1974 study by the National Association of Manufacturers to estimate the cost of workplace safety regulations today, and double-counted rules in estimating costs.
Even when performed more carefully, estimates of regulatory costs have often proved too high. For example, the actual costs of the national emissions trading program …
NEWS RELEASE: New Paper Showcases Best Practices for Protecting, Empowering Vulnerable Gulf Coast Communities in the Face of Climate Change
Most Americans understand the importance of curbing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent a climate catastrophe in the future. But many communities are already feeling the effects of our warming planet. Impacts on the Gulf Coast are particularly challenging. In a new paper released today, the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) highlights recommendations and best practices for protecting and empowering vulnerable communities as they adapt to climate change. The release comes ahead of an April 15 forum in New Orleans on risk reduction strategies for Louisiana coastal areas.
The paper, Climate Change, Resilience, and Fairness: How Nonstructural Adaptation Can Protect and Empower Socially Vulnerable Communities on the Gulf Coast, explains that many communities in the region are intimately tied to the area's environment and rich natural resources …
On April 6, U.S. District Court Judge Irene Berger sentenced former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to one year in jail and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to violate federal health and safety standards at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. The mine exploded and killed 29 miners in April 2010.
In an April 7 New York Times op-ed, CPR Member Scholar Rena Steinzor, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, explained the significance of Blankenship's conviction and sentence and what it portends for other top managers and CEOs:
"The first C.E.O. ever to be convicted of conspiring to violate industrial safety standards will soon take his place in prison.
"The sentence is noteworthy, however, not because of the law, but in spite of it. The Mine Safety and Health Act, the statute …
When it comes to public health, the environment, and social justice, Americans are facing a host of challenges that call out for comprehensive, national solutions. Whether it's climate change, threats to water resources like the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes, or serious injuries and deaths in the workplace, how we respond as a nation has direct impacts on our everyday lives.
Strong standards and effective enforcement of our laws and regulations are key to protecting our health and environment, and the next presidential administration and Congress will determine if and how agencies like EPA and OSHA rise to the occasion. The University of Pennsylvania Law School will examine these issues and more when it hosts a panel discussion in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 5 titled, "The Next Five Years in Regulation: An Election Year Conversation."
Rena Steinzor, a Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar and …