Perhaps caught up in the spirit of the holiday shopping season, a large number of industry bargain hunters have been busy seeking great deals on regulatory relief at the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in recent weeks. To be precise, the bureau hosted no fewer than 11 meetings with corporate interests regarding seven different regulatory issues between November 4 and November 16.
The meetings covered a range of topics. One meeting saw representatives of Shell Oil Company complaining about EPA’s proposed rule on fuel and fuel additives under the renewable fuel standards program mandated by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. In a second meeting, representatives of the beef and poultry industries met with OIRA officials to attack a proposed Department of Agriculture rule regarding nutritional labels for their products. Other meetings concerned NHTSA’s updated CAFÉ standards; EPA’s rule on hazardous pollutants generated by paint manufacturers; EPA’s rule on controlling ozone-depleting HCFC; and EPA’s attempts to update its NAAQSs for ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
By far the most popular topic, however, was EPA’s preliminary efforts to regulate coal combustion waste (coal ash). I blogged earlier about how the affected industries had already began putting on the full court press to oppose EPA, even though the agency hasn’t even proposed a rule yet. This press continued as affected industries have met with OIRA five more times to oppose EPA on this issue. (There have now been a total of seven meetings regarding coal combustion waste since October 16.)
We shall see if this will continue to be a busy shopping season at OIRA. The Obama OIRA ought to send all of these industry bargain hunters home empty handed.