Small Businesses, Public Health, and Scientific Integrity

This report examines the activities of an independent office within the Small Business Administration: the Office of Advocacy. The Office of Advocacy has responsibility for ensuring that federal agencies evaluate the small business impacts of the rules they adopt. Scientific assessments are not “rules” and do not regulate small business, yet the Office of Advocacy decided to comment on technical, scientific assessments of the cancer risks of formaldehyde, styrene, and chromium. By its own admission, Advocacy lacks the scientific expertise to evaluate the merits of such assessments.

read in full

Agency Attempts to Block Scientific Assessments of Toxic Chemicals

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2013—In a report released today, the Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) documents attempts by the Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration to thwart important agency assessments of chemical toxicity at the behest of lobbyists for large chemical companies. No actual small businesses requested these interventions, according to the materials the Center for Effective Government obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

read in full

The Obama Administration's Regulatory Agenda: Many Overdue Rules Need to Be Finalized to Fulfill Legislative and Public Safety Promises

Each year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is supposed to publish two agendas of planned rules and at least one regulatory plan summarizing economically significant rulemakings likely to move forward in the near future. In 2012, the Obama administration skipped the spring agenda entirely and did not publish the fall agenda until December, likely because of the elections. The plan that finally emerged contains some positive measures but does not go far enough to significantly advance consumer, workplace safety, or environmental protections.

read in full

National Council for Occupational Health and Safety: Burgeoning Cost of Regulations? Where?

Hats off to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) for setting the record straight on workplace safety standards! In a blog post last week, National COSH's Dorry Samuels answered the question posed by The Washington Post's Wonk Blog – "New regulations ... what do they reap?" The piece featured questionable statistics from a report by the conservative American Action Forum complaining about the costs (to business) of regulations. Samuels highlighted the human costs of delaying crucial workplace safety protections.

read in full

CEO of Alcoa Embraces Regulations as Good for Business, the Economy

The fact that public protections can increase productivity, spur innovation, and encourage creation of new markets is not news to us – or, apparently, to business leaders. New standards can create incentives to improve technologies and manufacturing processes

read in full

The $4.5 Billion Criminal Fine for BP Oil Spill: Enough to Prevent Bad Corporate Behavior?

Two years after the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed 11 people and spewed millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, BP has agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges, including manslaughter charges from the deaths. The company will pay $4.5 billion in damages, including $4 billion for the criminal charges and $525 million to securities regulators. BP will face additional civil fines of up to $20 billion as a result of its violations of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

read in full

Vote Imminent on House Bill that Would Shut Down Safeguards

The House will vote later this week on the misleadingly titled "Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act." The bill is a brazen attempt to shut down the system of public safeguards that protects our air, water, food, consumer products, and economy and would do nothing to create jobs.

read in full

Updated: House Majority Trying to Shut Down Safeguards – Again

The highlight of next week's legislative calendar in the House is likely to be a vote on H.R. 4078, the misleadingly named "Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act." With this vote, the House majority is set to launch yet another attack to shut down the safeguards that protect Americans against health, safety, and economic disasters.

read in full

Coal Dust Is Still Killing Miners

A new report from the Center for Public Integrity finds that, after decades of decline, the incidence of black lung disease – a progressive, debilitating, scarring of the lungs that makes breathing difficult for its victims – is rising, particularly among young miners and those in central Appalachia.

read in full

Diesel Exhaust Causes Lung Cancer

For more than a decade, the mining industry has been waging a war to cast doubt on scientific studies showing that diesel exhaust causes lung cancer. Industry lost that fight on June 12 when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) voted unanimously to designate diesel exhaust as a known cause of lung cancer. IARC’s conclusion comes more than a decade after the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) adopted a standard that reduced miners' exposure to diesel particulate matter – a prudent move on MSHA's part in the face of industry criticism.

read in full