Shifting Baselines

A Lame Duck Screwing The Environment

bush.pngDuring Clinton’s 11th hour, he initiated a number of policies that protected the environment; some of those regulations have remained in force, including the protection of almost 60 million acres of roadless areas. According to an article in Nature this week (and the OMB Watch, a Washington DC-based advocacy group), Bush is gearing up to do the exact opposite. On the list for potential midnight rollouts of new [anti] environmental regulations include the following:

1) New environmental regulations for factory farms. The EPA says that the regulations would curb the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering waterways, and farm operators have greeted it with cautious optimism. But environmentalists say a loophole in the rule would scale back environmental protection by effectively allowing operators to police themselves — on these and other requirements — under the Clean Water Act. When has self-regulation ever worked in such contexts?

2) New rules that would make it easier for mountain-top mine operators to dump debris in streams. Great idea.

3) New laws that would ease air-quality restrictions on power plants operating near national parks and wilderness areas, and would make it easier for utilities to update old power plants without triggering a requirement to install modern pollution controls. Just the kind of climate change leadership that nations will be looking for from the US as we approach the Copenhagen meetings in 2010 (the next Kyoto Protocol).

4) New regulation that would scale back the requirement for Endangered Species Act consultations with federal biologists on projects such as roads and pipelines. Lovely.

5) And a new rule that would require the Department of Labor to conduct risk assessments for toxic chemicals on an industry-by-industry basis. The new rule would make such assessments more difficult and the resulting standards less protective. Maybe this is a new less government via more government approach toward human health and protection.

Let’s hope the Obama is more skillful and successful in quickly undoing these potential midnight regulations than Bush was undoing Clinton’s…

Comments

  1. #1 HelenBakagin
    November 6, 2008

    The Senate has already passed a bill that would allow people to carry loaded firearms in National Parks. Maybe they don’t realize that the White House, Statue of Liberty, Washington & Jefferson Memorial, Independence Hall, Ellis Island, not to mention the “crown jewel” parks, are all part of the National Park system…

    (See NationalParksTraveler.com for several discussions of the impacts of such)

  2. #2 bigTom
    November 6, 2008

    For number 3 a case can be made either way. The pro 3 case is that it allows a plant owner/operator to make minor changes, including those that may improve efficiency and/or decrease emissions, thus such changes are more likely to be done. Of course here the real problem is our foolish binary legal process, if you do X you are still grandfathered in under the old rules, if you do Y you are not and must become compliant with the newer regulations. Lots of perverse incentives can result from poorly crafted regulations.

    It always seems pretty scurrilous of a lame duck administration to wait until the last minute to enact something controversial. Such changes should be made during the administration, so that they are forced to deal with the consequences. Why do we allow this to occur?

  3. #3 Joseph O'Sullivan
    November 10, 2008

    Many of the rule changes Bush is pushing are contrary to the statues, so they can be overturned. The catch is that its time and labor intensive to do so.

    Most of the environmental groups are litigating and lobbying to delay the changes as much as possible.

  4. #4 Douglas Watts
    November 24, 2008

    Great blog. Thank you. I am bookmarking it and linking it to ours.

    Anything done by rulemaking can be eliminated by re-writing the underlying statute, for example the ESA, to eliminate that particular rule-making.

    Bush wants to burn the house down and throw feces on the walls before he peels out in his stolen car back to Crawford.

    Worst President Ever.

    Cheers.

  5. #5 film izle
    August 15, 2010

    I’m going to bet that it’s usually the first reason that gets most peoples’ knickers in a twist. In this culture, women’s bodies exist mostly to please men. If they’re otherwise occupied, or not pleasing, they’re supposed to be kept private. The breasts of breastfeeding women are both–no wonder they’re so offensive.

  6. #6 hikaye
    September 8, 2010

    The authors found that the frequencies of allergic and IgE-associated allergic disease and sensitization were similar in the children who had received probiotic and those who’d gotten placebo. Although there appeared to be a preventive effect at age 2, there was none noted at age 5. Interestingly, in babies born by cesarean section, the researchers found less IgE-associated allergic disease in those who had received the probiotic.

  7. #7 müzik dinle
    September 8, 2010

    The authors found that the frequencies of allergic and IgE-associated allergic disease and sensitization were similar in the children who had received probiotic and those who’d gotten placebo. Although there appeared to be a preventive effect at age 2, there was none noted at age 5. Interestingly, in babies born by cesarean section, the researchers found less IgE-associated allergic disease in those who had received the probiotic.

  8. #8 panax
    December 1, 2011

    If they’re otherwise occupied, or not pleasing, they’re supposed to be kept private

  9. #9 panax
    December 1, 2011

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    las campañas políticas no tienen costo”, por lo tanto “los medios tienen que ceder tiempo
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