With Regulatory Reviews Complete, Agencies Can Return to Enforcing Public Protections


-For Immediate Release-
September 1, 2011

Contact: Delaney Parrish, (202) 683-4867, dparrish@ombwatch.org

With Regulatory Reviews Complete, Agencies Can Return to Enforcing Public Protections
Three analyses of agency plans examine proposed rule changes

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2011—On Aug. 23, the Obama administration unveiled a set of anxiously awaited federal agency review plans designed to uncover and remove outdated or ineffective rules, as mandated by a January executive order. OMB Watch, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group that seeks to improve government processes and outcomes, today released an analysis of the agency plans.

Although many in the public interest community feared the agencies might weaken important health, safety, and environmental protections or hold up rules due to political pressure, "the agencies we were most concerned with stuck to their missions and did not cave to industry pressure,” said Rick Melberth, Director of Regulatory Policy at OMB Watch. “Despite the fact that industry lobbyists dominated participation in the public comment period, the reviews appear to have served a positive purpose — outdated rules were modernized and internal processes were streamlined. Now it's time for the administration and Congress to allow agencies to look forward and return to the critical work of keeping our food and products safe and our air and water clean."

The 26 plans by individual agencies were drafted in response to an executive order (E.O. 13563) issued in January 2011 that instructed federal agencies to review existing regulations and to revise those that are outdated, redundant, or "unnecessarily burdensome."

The OMB Watch analysis highlights efforts by select agencies to make the "look-back" process transparent, accessible, and responsive to the public. The agencies had extensive public comment periods, but the comments were disproportionately provided by interested business voices, rather than public interest representatives, calling for eliminating or weakening of various rules and standards.

The long-term impact of the changes will be clear only as agencies implement the scheduled revisions in the coming months. The in-depth analyses of individual agency plans by OMB Watch cover the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Labor. A comprehensive summary of the review process and the analyses of individual agency plans can be found at http://www.ombwatch.org/reglookbacks.

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OMB Watch is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting government accountability, citizen participation in public policy decisions, and the use of fiscal and regulatory policy to serve the public interest. Find OMB Watch on Facebook and Twitter.

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