Court Says FDA Failed to Comply with Food Safety Rule Deadlines

This week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California concluded that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by failing to comply with specific deadlines for food safety rules, which were set out in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). For a number of major food safety regulation areas, FDA failed to meet the dates set for completion. Although some of the rules were proposed in January, many remain under review at FDA or the White House.

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President Obama’s Budget Proposal Assumes Flawed Poultry Inspection Rule Will Be Finalized

Yesterday, the president released the proposed budget for funding the federal government in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. The budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) assumes savings from finalizing a controversial proposed rule to change the way chickens and other poultry are inspected in processing plants.

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Sunstein’s “Simpler Government” Is Legally Suspect, Overly Secretive And Politically Unaccountable

By Lisa Heinzerling
Originally posted on Think Progress

In his new book, “Simpler: The Future of Government,” Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein writes about his nearly four years as President Barack Obama’s “regulatory czar.” As the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (known as “OIRA”) within the Office of Management and Budget, Sunstein oversaw the regulatory output of the many agencies of the executive branch. Rules on worker health, environmental protection, food safety, health care, consumer protection, and more all passed through Sunstein’s inbox.

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Kudos to the Office of Advocacy!

The Center for Effective Government recently published a report criticizing the Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration for catering to the anti-regulatory agenda of Big Business rather than representing the unique interests of small business. Among other issues raised in our report was a concern that the environmental roundtables held by the Office of Advocacy were too one-sided – with the presentations at the roundtables dominated by opponents of regulation. 

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Stronger Standards for Hazardous Chemicals Benefit the Public and Spur Innovation

Stronger standards for hazardous chemicals not only protect human health and the environment, but can also spur innovation and benefit the economy. A recent report, Driving Innovation: How stronger laws help bring safer chemicals to market, examined the impact of laws governing hazardous chemicals and found that the prospect of stricter laws on toxic chemicals sparked the invention, development, and adoption of alternatives. The demand for these alternatives is growing globally.

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More American Workers Will Die as Silica Rule Delayed

Silica has long been known to cause silicosis, a progressive, irreversible, but preventable lung disease that kills people. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that in 2007, 120 workers died from silicosis; 180-360 new cases of the disease are reported each year. Recent evidence shows that silica exposure also causes lung cancer. OSHA estimates that a lower allowable limit on silica in the workplace would prevent 60 deaths each year.

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New Web Tool Provides Easy Tracking of Rulemaking Comments

A new online tool allows users to better follow the rulemaking process and monitor the public comments agencies receive on proposed rules. Docket Wrench, launched by the Sunlight Foundation, provides access to more than 3.5 million regulatory documents. The tool is intended to help the public follow the influence of special interests in the rulemaking process by tracking and grouping their comments.

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Two New Reports Reveal How the Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration Has Worked to Block Public Safeguards

Last Tuesday, the Center for Effective Government and the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) released separate reports on the activities of a little-known, but powerful, office within the Small Business Administration—the Office of Advocacy. The reports uncovered how the Office of Advocacy actively works to delay and block public safeguards and the release of important information that has serious implications for Americans' health and well-being.

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Will New House Website Bring Real Small Business Voices to Regulatory Debates?

Congratulations to Republicans on the House Small Business Committee for launching a new website that purportedly will alert small business owners to regulatory issues affecting them and make it easier for them to comment on pending rules. It would be a significant improvement to the regulatory process if small businesses actually weighed in themselves on the impacts of rules and also commented on the new markets that may be created for small business products and services as a result of standards and safeguards.

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Urgent Public Protections Should Be Treated As Such – Sen. Jay Rockefeller

At a Senate committee hearing earlier this week, safety advocates told lawmakers that federal agencies need to do more to make the country’s natural gas and hazardous materials pipelines safer.

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