Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen: Seven Executive Orders for the President's First 100 Days, By CPR Member Scholars Rebecca M. Bratspies, David M. Driesen, Robert L. Fischman, Sheila Foster, Eileen Gauna, Robert L. Glicksman, Alexandra B. Klass, Catherine A. O’Neill, Sidney Shapiro, Amy Sinden, Rena Steinzor, Robert R.M. Verchick, and Wendy Wagner, and CPR Policy Analyst James Goodwin
In 2014, the Center for Progressive Reform issued a report identifying 13 key regulatory actions that the Obama administration should be certain to finish before June of 2016, in order to ensure that the rules would 1) make it out of the regulatory pipeline during Obama's tenure, and 2) be finalized in time to be safe from repeal by the successor administration. In 2016, CPR followed up to see whether the Obama administration had adopted the necessary sense of urgency. (Read the online version of this report for the 2016 updates.)
Letter from Robert Verchick and James Goodwin to Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management re the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
On June 5, 2019, the Center for Progressive Reform hosted a first-of-its-kind, one-day convening that brought together a diverse group of more than 60 progressive activists and academics. Our purpose was to begin the process of developing a progressive vision of the U.S. regulatory system – one that is not only robust and responsive enough to meet the immediate challenge of protecting people and the environment against unacceptable risks, but that also is institutionally designed to promote the broader social goals of justice and equity. CPR's James Goodwin synthesized the ideas into a report.
Joint Letter to Members of Congress from the Clean Budget Coalition urging passage of remaining FY19 appropriations bills without "poison pill" ideological policy riders, November 13, 2018.
In the first four months of his presidency, Donald Trump and his congressional allies used the Congressional Review Act to repeal 14 Obama era health, safety, labor, financial, education, energy, environmental rules. The law allows Congress to block "major" rules within 60 legislative days of adoption, with a joint resolution (not subject to the Senate's normal 60-vote requirement) and president's signature. CPR tracked the damage.
Following up on CPR's June 2019 Regulation as Social Justice Conference, and the subsequent report on it, on December 11, 2019, Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and CPR's Amy Sinden and James Goodwin discussed the future of regulation, and how it can do a better job of serving the interests of the political dispossessed.
In the first few months of the Trump administration, Congress invoked a rarely used, little-known law called the Congressional Review Act to repeal a host of health, safety, and environmental regulations adopted during the Obama administration after years of consideration and public input. CPR tracked the congressional assault on our safeguards. See our chart from May 2017 detailing the damage.
Over the last quarter century, much of the focus of federal regulatory policy in the areas of health, safety, and the environment has been gradually redirected away from protecting Americans against various harms and toward protecting corporate interests from the plain meaning of protective statutes. This book delivers precisely what its title promises, a re-imagining of federal policy in these areas, with particular focus on the regulatory process. It identifies the failings of the current approach to regulation and proposes innovative, straightforward, and practical solutions for the 21st Century. The 2004, A New Progressive Agenda for Public Health and the Environment, was a seminal collaboration among the Member Scholars of the Center for Progressive Reform (then called the Center for Progressive Regulation).
What do we know about the possible poisons that industrial technologies leave in our air and water? How reliable is the science that federal regulators and legislators use to protect the public from dangerous products? Drawing together a host of little-known but dramatic cases, Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research, by CPR Member Scholars Thomas O. McGarity and Wendy Wagner, comprehensively documents what has been suspected for years: how extensively scientific data are misused and abused in regulatory and tort law. Sound science is critical to the public policy process, particularly where health and safety issues are concerned. But as Professors McGarity and Wagner show, many interest groups do all they can to influence and undermine independent and honest research, in an effort to bend science to their ideological will.
Published in July 2006, Rescuing Science from Politics debuted chapters by the nation's leading academics in law, science, and philosophy who explore ways that the law can be abused by special interests to intrude on the way scientists conduct research. The book begins by establishing non-controversial principles of good scientific practice. These principles then serve as the benchmark against which each chapter author compares how science is misused in a specific regulatory setting and assist in isolating problems in the integration of science by the regulatory process.
On the Center for American Progress website, Douglas Kysar writes that "Conservative lawmakers and right-wing policy institutes would have us believe that one of the most pressing issues facing the nation today is the problem of 'regulation through litigation.' Across the country, power-hungry officials are said to be conspiring with greedy lawyers and activist judges to pursue regulatory agendas that have not, or could not, be successfully achieved through legislative channels. Given this relentless conservative refrain, it was surprising to learn that the latest example of 'regulation through litigation' was launched by Cornyn's successor as Texas state attorney general, Greg Abbott...."
Writing for The Regulatory Review, Rena Steinzor and Wendy Wagner observe that "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt recently opened another front in his battle to redirect the agency away from its mission to protect human health and the environment. This time, he cobbled together a proposed rule that would drastically change how science is considered during the regulatory process."
"No matter how many times the word, 'transparency,' is repeated to characterize" a Trump administration proposal on the use of science in regulation, "its effects would reverse progress," write Rena Steinzor and Wedny Wagner on The Regulatory Review's pages.
Writing for The American Prospect, Rena Steinzor observes that a burgeoning and little-regulated private industry that specially mixes drugs at so-called compounding pharmacies poses a public-health hazard that the Trump administration will only make worse.
Writing for the Huffington Post, Rena Steinzor and Dan Dudis point to a recent wave of corporate criminality -- from the Wells Fargo fake account scandal to the Volkswagen scheme to evade air pollution standards -- and call for criminal prosecutions of companies and their leaders.
Writing for Huffington Post and ACSBlog, Renat Steinzor observes that, in the wake of a series of accidents related to a defective ignition switch in GM cars, the "Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into GM’s conduct and the next attorney general will decide whether and how to charge the company. President Obama’s nominee, Loretta Lynch, will need to make a break with the misguided policies of her predecessor, Eric Holder, when the GM case hits her desk."
In 2013, about 25,000 Maryland workers suffered on-the-job injuries severe enough to force them to miss a day or more of work; 78 of them actually died from their injuries. Year after year, a few tragic fact patterns repeat more often than you might expect: arborists crushed by falling trees, construction workers tumbling from ladders and roadwork crews run over by passing motorists.
Writing for the Center for American Progress website, Christopher Schroeder and Rena Steinzor, co-editors of CPR's book, A New Progressive Agenda for Public Health and the Environment, offer a summary of the work, which features contributions from 20 CPR Member Scholars.
In this briefing memo for participants in CPR's June 5, 2019, Regulation as Social Justice conference, James Goodwin sets the table for discussions aimed at devising reforms for the regulatory system so that it can do a better job promoting social justice and addressing unmet community needs.