Regulatory Policy

Regulatory safeguards play a vital role in protecting us from hazards and ensuring that companies that pollute, make unsafe products, and create workplace hazards bear the cost of cleaning up their messes and preventing injuries and deaths. Still, the regulatory system is far from perfect: Rules take too long to develop; enforcement is often feeble; and political pressure from regulated industries has led to weak safeguards.

These systemic problems are made all the more severe by the determination of the Trump administration to undercut sensible safeguards across virtually all aspects of federal regulation. Moreover, the President and his team have taken aim at the the process by which such safeguards are developed, aiming to take a system already slanted in favor of industry profit at the expense of health, safety and the environment, and make it even less protective. For example, where critics of the use of cost-benefit analysis see a system that understates the value of safeguards and overstates the cost of implementing them -- making it difficult to adopt needed protections -- the Trump administration seeks simply to ignore benefits of safeguards, pretending they do not exist. The result is a regulatory system that fails to enforce landmark laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and more.

CPR exposes and opposes efforts by opponents of sensible safeguards to undermine the regulatory system, fighting back against knee-jerk opposition to environmental, health, and safety protections. Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

Virus provides lessons on government, science and politics

Joseph Tomain, writing in the Cincinnati Enquirer, discusses lessons to be learned -- so far -- from the coronavirus pandemic.

Type: Op-Eds (April 13, 2020)
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Author(s): Joseph Tomain
Deregulation on Demand: Trump EPA Panders to Polluters in Dismantling Clean Power Plan

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.

Type: Reports (April 9, 2020)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
The Pandemic and Industry Opportunism

Writing for The Regulatory Review, Rena Steinzor notes that in March 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, EPA enforcement chief Susan Bodine issued a memo offering businesses assurance that EPA would overlook certain regulatory violations for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Public interest groups roundly criticized the new policy, prompting EPA to cry "fake news."

Type: Op-Eds (April 8, 2020)
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Author(s): Rena Steinzor
Trump's EPA Uses Coronavirus Crisis to Mask Environmental Deregulation and Suspend Enforcement

Writing on ACSBlog, Joel Mintz describes the several ways that the Trump EPA has seized on the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to undercut a range of environmental protections.

Type: Op-Eds (April 7, 2020)
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Author(s): Joel Mintz
Joint Letter on Coronavirus and Environmental Justice

CPR joined dozens of environmental and social justice organizations in writing to Congress urging that legislation responsive to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic account for environmental justice concerns.

Type: Legislative Testimony (March 31, 2020)
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Joint Letter on Extending Comment Periods During Coronavirus Emergency

CPR joined with 163 public interest organizations in signing a letter to OMB calling on it to direct executive branch agencies to hold open all active comment periods for pending rulemakings for as long as the Declaration of a National Emergency concerning the coronavirus remains in effect. March 19, 2020.

Type: Letters to Agencies (March 19, 2020)
PDF: PubInt Group Jt Letter re Comment Extensions During Coronavirus
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CPR Letter to OMB Re Comment Extension During Coronavirus

In March 2020, with the full implications of the novel coronavirus just coming into view, CPR Member Scholars and staff wrote to the Office of Management and Budget calling on OMB to direct all executive branch agencies to hold open all active comment periods for their pending rulemakings as long as the COVID-19 declaration of national emergency remains in effect.

Type: Letters to Agencies (March 18, 2020)
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Author(s): William Andreen, Rebecca Bratspies, Alejandro Camacho, Gilonne d'Origny, Michael C. Duff, Heather Elliott, David Flores, Alyson Flournoy, Bill Funk, Robert Glicksman, Carmen Gonzalez, James Goodwin, Michele Janin, Sarah Krakoff, Thomas McGarity, Darya Minovi, Joel Mintz, Dave Owen, Laurie Ristino, Matt Shudtz, Karen Sokol, Rena Steinzor, Steph Tai, Katie Tracy, Sandra Zellmer
From border security to climate change, national emergency declarations raise hard questions about presidential power

"Presidential emergency powers could provide useful tools for addressing climate change, but taking this route sets an important precedent," Dan Farber writes for The Conversation. "If presidents increasingly make free use of emergency powers to achieve policy goals, this approach could become the new normal – with a serious potential for abuse of power and ill-considered decisions."

Type: Op-Eds (March 10, 2020)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber
EPA Enforcement in Distress — and More Trouble Is Brewing

Writing in The Revelator, CPR's Joel Mintz describes yet another White House effort to weaken environmental safeguards, this time by "quietly and ominously ask[ing] polluters to help identify new opportunities for deregulation."

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 24, 2020)
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Author(s): Joel Mintz
Trump Is Trying to Cripple the Environment and Democracy

Writing in The Hill, Robert Glicksman and Alejandro Camacho dissect the Trump administration's latest effort to enfeeble environmental protections, this time by devising new regulations intended to undercut the National Environment Policy Act.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 18, 2020)
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Author(s): Robert Glicksman, Alejandro Camacho

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