Search Results Archives: August 2013

August 29, 2013

NRECA to OMB: Fuel Diversity is Key


By Cathy Cash

A federal mandate to cut carbon dioxide and favor natural gas generation could prove costly for a large portion of American consumers, including many of the 42 million electric cooperative members who rely on coal-based electricity, NRECA told the Obama administration.

In a meeting with officials from the Office of Management and Budget, NRECA representatives outlined how a carbon dioxide standard aimed at new coal plants could hamper co-ops’ ability to provide affordable power on a reliable basis.

August 28, 2013

A Microeconomic Look at Regulatory Overkill

From: Cato Institute

By Daniel J. Ikenson

In this new paper, I argue that an overly burdensome U.S. regulatory state is partly responsible for the downward trend in domestic and foreign investment in U.S. factories, professional services operations, distribution centers, and research and development facilities. EPA mandates, Obamacare’s costly, complicated new health care directives, and the slowly emerging financial services restrictions stemming from Dodd Frank, are just some of the new regulations that have thickened the Federal Register to more than 80,000 pages per year and added 16,500 new pages to the Code of Federal Regulations during the Obama presidency, undoubtedly deflecting and chasing investment and business creation to foreign shores.

August 27, 2013

Social Media in Rulemaking

Editor’s Note:  To RSVP for the ACUS/Regulatory Studies Center Workshop, click here.

From: Administrative Conference of the United States

Social Media Workshop: September 17, 2013 – 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm EDT


August 26, 2013

Recommendations for Improving Informal Rulemaking

From: RegBlog

Kara Cheever

Since the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) first authorized agencies to make law through a process known as informal rulemaking in 1946, this process has become an essential part of modern government. Nevertheless, ambiguity in some of the APA’s provisions on recordkeeping in informal rulemaking has led agencies to apply the statute inconsistently.

The APA directs courts to “review the whole record or those parts of it cited by a party” in order to determine the legality of an agency’s action. Initially, courts understood this statutory language to apply exclusively to formal proceedings, but later also interpreted this provision to require an “administrative record” in informal proceedings as well. According to the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), the administrative record “can be essential” to judicial review of agency decision-making.

August 25, 2013

OSHA Proposes Lower PEL for Crystalline Silica

From: Occupational Health & Safety

The proposed rule would update the current permissible exposure limit, which was set in 1971, and would apply to construction and general industry, including hydraulic fracturing operations at gas drilling sites. Several key stakeholders expressed support.

OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels on Aug. 23 announced a new proposed rule issued by the agency that would set a new permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day. This rule has been awaiting action at OIRA, the OMB gatekeeper office for proposed federal regulations, for more than a year, so the announcement is major news for employers in construction, natural gas drilling, and some in general industry, as well.

August 22, 2013

Public Interest Comment on FDA’s Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption NPRM

Editor’s Note:  The following is an excerpt from the comment’s Conclusion.  The complete Public Interest Comment is available here.

From: The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center

Sofie E. Miller and Cassidy B. West

FDA’s proposed Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption does not meet statutory and executive requirements, and may needlessly harm consumers as well as small farmers domestically and abroad. First, estimates supporting the rule are based on very limited data and unscientific methods. FDA nevertheless relies on point estimates, rather than presenting a range of likely effects. Second, FDA does not consider unintended side effects associated with higher prices for the fresh commodities covered. Third, even accepting FDA’s analysis at face value, the selected option does not maximize net benefits as required by presidential Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. The recommendations below would address some of these issues in the proposed rule and analysis.

August 21, 2013

FDA Orders Environmental Impact Statement on FSMA’s Produce Rule

From: Food Safety News

By Dan Flynn

The produce rule – one of seven specific regulations called for in the Food Safety Modernization Act – is first going to be subjected to a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before it takes effect. With at least one federal judge already breathing down the agency’s neck over completion deadlines contained in the FSMA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is promising the easy-to-bog-down environmental process won’t delay the final rule.

August 20, 2013

Cost-Benefit Analysis: A Tool for Good Governance in Financial Regulation

From: RegBlog

Paul Rose and Christopher J. Walker

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has raised the stakes for financial regulation by requiring more than twenty federal agencies to promulgate nearly 400 new rules and regulations.  Now more than ever, financial regulators need to take bold steps to improve the quality of the cost-benefit analysis in their rulemaking.  Cost-benefit analysis not only improves agency decision making, but also serves as an important good-governance tool to enhance the democratic accountability of independent agencies.

August 19, 2013

Regulation nation: Obama expands the regulatory state

From: RegWatch/The Hill’s Regulation Blog

By Ben Goad and Julian Hattem

President Obama has overseen a dramatic expansion of the regulatory state that will outlast his time in the White House.

The reach of the executive branch has advanced steadily on his watch, further solidifying the power of bureaucrats who churn out regulations that touch nearly every aspect of American life and business.

Experts debate whether federal rulemaking has accelerated under Obama, but few dispute that Washington — for better or worse — is reaching deeper than ever before into the workings of society.

August 18, 2013

Food Suppliers and Safety Regs

Editor’s Note: “Under the radar lobbying” =  the exercise of “the right of the people…to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”  Docket Wrench, discussed below, is a valuable tool for enhancing the ability of people to effectively participate in the grievance petition process.

From: Sunlight Foundation

Under the radar lobbying: How food suppliers are pushing back on safety regs

By Nancy Watzman

Among the many groups pushing for exemption from new food safety rules meant to prevent outbreaks of deady bacteria are a group of dry bulb onion farmers from Idaho and Oregon.