New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Experts Vie to Influence Obama on Regulatory Reform

Regulatory experts across the country are angling to change the way federal regulations are written and approved. Since President Barack Obama issued a memo Jan. 30 instructing his administration to rethink the executive order that governs the federal regulatory process, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been accepting public comments on ideas for reform and meeting with stakeholders.

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OMB Seeking Public Comment on Regulatory Reform

On Jan. 30 President Obama issued a memo asking federal agencies to help him reform the regulatory process. Obama asked White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag to spearhead the effort, and set a deadline of 100 days. (The memo is here, background on the memo is here.)

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Obama Begins Regulatory Reform

President Barack Obama took two steps toward reforming the way federal agencies develop public protections. On Jan. 30, the president issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies asking for recommendations to help develop a new regulatory executive order. The same day, he issued an executive order overturning two Bush-era executive orders that changed the way regulations were developed.

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Obama Revokes Controversial Bush E.O.

In today's Federal Register, President Barack Obama officially revoked Executive Order 13,422 which was signed by President Bush in January 2007. As you may recall, OMB Watch opposed the changes Bush was trying to advance through E.O. 13,422.

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Obama Asks for Recommendations on Regulatory Process, OIRA

President Barack Obama is asking federal agencies to reform the process for writing new regulations. In a Jan. 30 memo, published in today's Federal Register, Obama instructs Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag, in consultation with agency officials, to formulate a set of recommendations for transforming the government's rule-writing process. Obama wants the recommendations within 100 days.

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Transition at OIRA: What Kind of Change?

Change is coming to the leadership position at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Two news reports during the week of Jan. 5 highlighted the outgoing and (potentially) incoming administrators of the office that reviews federal agencies' proposals for providing public health, safety, consumer, and environmental protections.

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Changes at OIRA; Obama Nominee Announced

Wednesday, Reg•Watch blogged about President Bush's decision to appoint Susan Dudley as the acting administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs — the White House office in charge of clearing federal regulations. Dudley has been the administrator since 2007, but her recess appointment expired, forcing Bush to give her "acting" status.

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Panel Sends Regulatory Recommendations to Obama, Congress

On Nov. 14, a panel of regulatory experts released a report calling for significant changes to the federal regulatory process. The recommendations are directed to President-elect Obama and the new Congress and are designed to achieve a more effective, efficient, and timely process that is now burdened with excessive requirements and assessments.

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Life's Value Shrinks at EPA

An Associated Press (AP) investigation released July 10 showed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been devaluing human life when it prepares cost-benefit analyses for new regulations. Federal agencies such as EPA use the life value, an inaccurate statistic, to help them determine whether a proposal's benefits will outweigh compliance costs to industry.

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Find out How Much You're Worth. Take our Trip around the Beltway.

Last week, Reg•Watch blogged about a recent Associated Press investigation that shows the Environmental Protection Agency has been using new statistics to assign monetary values to the lives potential regulations will save. AP found EPA's most recent value, $6.9 million, is about $1 million lower than it was five years ago. The figure in question is called a Value of a Statistical Life (VSL), which is a number that attempts to place a dollar figure on individuals by studying market data. EPA isn't the only agency that uses a VSL. Lots of public health and safety agencies go through the ridiculous process of valuing human life in order to comply with White House requirements on cost-benefit analysis. But agencies don't necessarily use the same VSL. Some agencies even use a different VSL for different rules. If you're wondering how much different sectors of the federal government think your life is worth, take our journey around the beltway, complete with an interactive map.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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more resources