OIRA Issues Implementation Memo on Retrospective Review Process

A memorandum issued Oct. 26 by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Cass Sunstein, instructs federal agencies to submit reports on the implementation of their retrospective review plans for periodically evaluating existing rules. The plans were required by President Obama's Jan. 18 Executive Order 13563, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review" (E.O. 13563), and thus far in the process, agencies have largely managed to keep their focus on their main mandate: protecting the public.

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A Dangerous, Misguided Regulatory Attack

Today, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Susan Collins (R-ME), and Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Lamar Smith (R-TX) announced their intention to propose a major revision of the Administrative Procedure Act – the basic legal framework that defines how federal rules are made – that would prevent or delay by years important health, safety, and environmental standards. It's hard to imagine a more damaging attack on the federal government's responsibility to protect the public from a wide range of threats.

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How to Strengthen Transparency in the U.S. Open Government Plan

Yesterday, OMB Watch submitted its recommendations for the Obama administration's national plan for the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The administration will unveil its plan, with new concrete commitments to increase transparency, at the international OGP meeting on Sept. 20.

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Agencies’ Regulatory Review Plans To Be Released Soon

Today is the deadline for federal agencies to submit their final plans for reviewing existing regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The plans are the second step in a process outlined by the Obama Administration to get rid of redundant, needlessly burdensome and outdated rules.

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Scientists and Economists Agree – Health and Safety Regulations Are Good for Our Health and Good for the Economy

Health and safety advocates have argued for decades that investments in clean energy and environmental protections help to create jobs. Time and time again, reports have shown that supporting clean energy fosters the development of new, job-creating industries, and that compliance with environmental health and safety standards encourages companies to hire new workers and invest in local economies. A host of new studies published in the past week provide even more support for those claims.

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New Critique of Crain and Crain Study Rejects Claim about Costs of Public Safeguards

An estimate of the cost of public protections often cited by regulatory opponents has been rejected by researchers from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The critique, Flaws Call for Rejecting Crain and Crain Model, concludes that because the $1.75 trillion cost estimate is heavily based on flawed methodology and flawed data, it "should not be used either as a valid measure of the costs of regulation or as a guide for policy."

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EPA Issues Life-Saving Air Quality Rule, Shows Benefits Far Outweigh Costs

Despite industry pressure, EPA finalized a rule July 6 that will achieve billions of dollars in public health benefits. The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) requires over 20 states to reduce power plant emissions of air pollutants that contribute to ozone and fine particle pollution in other states. The rule will prevent 13,000 to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 400,000 aggravated asthma attacks per year by 2014.

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Agencies Will Revise Their FOIA Regulations (...Or Not)

The Spring 2011 Unified Agenda was released today, reporting agencies' regulatory changes to be considered in the next six months. According to the Unified Agenda, several agencies intend to revise their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations this year, but there are reasons to take that with a grain of salt.

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OMB Annual Report Shows Regulations' Benefits Exceed Costs

On June 24, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its annual report on the costs and benefits of major federal regulations (those with an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy) reviewed by OMB over the last ten years. OMB issued the 2011 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Entities in compliance with the Regulatory-Right-to-Know Act, which requires OMB to submit to Congress an annual report on the costs and benefits of federal regulations for the previous year.

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EPA Withdraws TRI Clarification Rule That Would Protect Public Health

Last Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew from consideration a final rule that clarified exemptions to its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirement. The articles exemption clarification was being reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the last step before it could be finalized and published in the Federal Register. The OIRA review process is not made available to the public, so it is impossible to tell what caused EPA to pull the rule.

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