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.
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."
In his latest article on the need for regulatory reform, James Goodwin writes that overhauling cost-benefit analysis is crucial to restoring scientific integrity. He writes, "blind-to-reality calculations are sadly commonplace in the practice of the unique form of cost-benefit analysis that now dominates in the U.S. regulatory system. Defenders of the approach claim that it makes regulatory decision-making more 'rational' and insulates the process against improper political or subjective considerations. Yet ... the methodological techniques this form of cost-benefit analysis uses can be arbitrary, unscientific, ethically dubious, and at times even absurd."
American democracy, if it is to mean anything, demands that all eligible voters get to exercise their right to vote and that their votes actually be counted. We have watched with alarm as the former principle has come under unilateral attack from one political party for self-serving reasons in recent weeks. We are outraged to see the president attack the latter. We join with others in demanding that those states be allowed the freedom to complete those counts without political interference.
CPR joined the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards and 94 other organizations in calling on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to direct the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to take on the mission of advancing a strong, proactive agenda for safeguarding the public, workers, and the environment. The groups offered a set of recommendations to help ensure that our regulatory system protects workers, consumers, our environment, and our economy.