Aug. 31, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

The Agenda Behind the Republicans' Latest 'Jobs' Agenda: New CPR Report Reveals Effort to Gut Regulations Is Based on False Premises

House Republicans have promised this week that upon their return to Washington after the recess they will attempt to stop 10 important proposed regulations because they are “job-destroying.” Adhering to the belief that “if you say it often enough, people will believe its true,” the party continues to insist that regulations cost jobs. But, as I discussed in a recent post, the evidence shows that regulation is not a drag on employment because it stimulates the creation of as many new jobs as are lost, and because job gains from regulation can offset job losses, leading to a net gain in employment.

But there is another problem with the Republican agenda: it ignores the benefits of regulation.  A new CPR white paper on regulatory benefits indicates why the Republican deregulatory agenda won’t help with jobs and is a bad deal for Americans.

Government regulation has greatly benefited the American public, while the failure to regulate has cost us dearly. This reality is easily missed because no single, easily digested statistic perfectly proves the point. But, when my coauthors and I assembled the available evidence, we found that regulation has produced substantial and important benefits for the public without sacrificing …

Aug. 25, 2011 by Matt Shudtz

Shortly after my August 5th post criticizing their Data Quality Act complaint to EPA, the International Platinum Group Metals Association sent me a kindly-written response letter (Inside EPA recently reported on the letter). Accusing me of both missing the point of their complaint and brushing aside important scientific concerns to make a headline-grabbing call for “over-regulation,” IPA reiterated their concern that EPA’s draft IRIS assessment for halogenated platinum salts fails to meet DQA standards. Their letter is an eloquently-written piece of advocacy, but it provides no information to alter my analysis that their complaint falls squarely within the realm of “frivolous” claims that EPA has the discretion to decline to review.

To recap, both OMB’s government-wide guidelines and EPA’s own internal rules for dealing with DQA complaints (both Bush-era creations) allow the agency to decline to review “frivolous” complaints, such as those “for which …

Aug. 23, 2011 by Rena Steinzor

The final agency regulatory “look-back” plans, released by the White House this morning, don’t appear to satisfy anyone. They fall far short of their obvious goal: to placate greedy and intemperate industry demands that major rules be cancelled. And they distress public interest advocates, who fear they will preoccupy agencies with make-work at the expense of crucial life-saving initiatives.

The plans themselves, at first look, are largely well-intentioned given the assignment the agencies were given. The EPA plan discusses, for instance, how the internet could be better used to facilitate on-line reporting by polluting plants.  In some instances, though, the changes, if done as planned, would have real-life negative consequences: the planned axing of “clearance testing” under EPA’s renovation, repair and painting rule will save money, yes, but run the risk of leaving lead dust behind to poison children when they move back into renovated …

Aug. 22, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

The current anti-regulatory mantra of Republican legislators (e.g., Cantor, Boehner, Issa) and conservative think tanks (e.g., CEI and Heritage) is that regulation is a “job-killer.” And a top plank of Republicans’ job agenda when they return from the summer recess is to limit regulations. There is just one problem with this rhetoric. It is not backed up by the data, including the latest Department of Labor study on the reasons why employers lay off workers.

Economic studies indicate that regulation is not a drag on employment and may actually increase the number of jobs. Bezdek, Wendling and Di Perna found that “EP environmental protection, economic growth, and jobs creation are complementary and compatible: Investments in EP create jobs and displace jobs, but the net effect on employment is positive.” (Quoted here, p. 15). Likewise, when Richard Morgenstern and his colleagues studied the impact of EPA …

Aug. 16, 2011 by James Goodwin

What would you do if a report you funded was debunked by a scathing critique from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service?  What if you found that the researchers you funded had based 70 percent of their analysis of the costs of regulation on a regression based on opinion polling data?  What if the researchers who had published that opinion polling insisted publicly that their data was never meant to be used for such purposes?  What if a member of Congress had publicly lambasted you for keeping the underlying data used in the study from being examined by the public?

For the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, the answer appears to be: Stay the Course.  In new research proposal requests I noticed recently posted on the SBA’s website, the SBA appears to have learned little.

The Office of Advocacy’s flawed report that got so …

Aug. 12, 2011 by Ben Somberg

Former Senator Blanche Lincoln, now heading the National Federation of Independent Business’s new anti-regulatory campaign, faced criticism in recent days for citing the debunked SBA study claiming regulations cost $1.75 trillion in a year. The NFIB used that stat last week in launching its campaign (see ThinkProgress), and Lincoln cited the number in a National Journal forum post on Monday:

While some federal regulations are important, it costs the U.S. economy a staggering $1.75 trillion a year to comply with them, according to a report commissioned by the Small Business Administration last September.

Two respondents on the forum, CPR President Rena Steinzor and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman, specifically criticized Lincoln’s use of the thoroughly debunked number. In a new post Wednesday, Lincoln didn’t mention “$1.75 trillion” but instead wrote:

Currently, federal regulations are draining nearly 12 percent of U …

Aug. 12, 2011 by Celeste Monforton

Cross-posted from The Pump Handle.

Tyler Zander, 17 and Bryce Gannon, 17 were working together on Thursday, August 4 at the Zaloudek Grain Co. in Kremlin, Oklahoma. They were operating a large floor grain aguer when something went terribly wrong. Oklahoma's reports that Bryce Gannon's legs became trapped in the auger, Tyler Zander went to his friend's aid and his legs also were pulled into the heavy machinery. Emergency rescue personnel had to cut apart the 12-inch metal auger in order to free the young men. They were flown 100 miles to Oklahoma City for surgery and they remain hospitalized.

The fatality rate for young workers performing hazardous tasks----like working with a grain auger-----is two times the fatality rate for all U.S. workers. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), administered by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour …

Aug. 11, 2011 by Matt Shudtz

On Monday, EPA announced its intention to revise the emergency planning rules for industrial facilities. The goal of the revisions is to give state and local emergency planning committees better information that they can use to prepare for chemical spills, explosions, and other disasters at industrial facilities. In the initial proposal released Monday, EPA disregards a request from first responders that the new rules demand more information about the total number of people likely to be on-site during an emergency situation. EPA is proposing that facilities simply report the number of full-time employees, rather than what first responders say would be a more useful estimate of the total number of people likely to be on-site, including contract workers and members of the public.

EPA’s emergency planning rules are based on congressional mandates found in the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). EPCRA requires industrial facilities …

Aug. 10, 2011 by Sidney Shapiro

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has a Friday deadline to respond to a subpoena issued by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.). The subpoena seeks "all documents and communications relating to the NLRB's Office of General Counsel's investigation of Boeing..." prior to the time the NLRB issued its complaint against the company. The NLRB has alleged the company created a second assembly line at a nonunion plant in South Carolina to build its 787 Dreamliner in order to retaliate against union workers on Puget Sound, who had a history of conducting lawful strikes.

No one can deny that the House has a legitimate interest in conducting oversight of the Board. At the same time, House ethics rules (House Ethics Manual, p. 303) and a Fifth Circuit decision (Pillsbury Co. v. FTC) prohibit congressional oversight committees from improperly trying to influence the …

Aug. 8, 2011 by Alexandra Klass

Last month, the Nevada Supreme Court held in Lawrence v. Clark County that the public trust doctrine limited the ability of the state to freely alienate certain lands that, though dry at the time of the decision, were submerged under navigable waters at the time of statehood. The case is significant for at least two reasons. First, the court made clear that the public trust doctrine in Nevada places inherent limitations on state power and cannot be easily abrogated by state legislation, thus protecting state resources for present and future generations from the politics of the day. Second, the court clearly grounded its protection for such resources in what I have referred to in earlier scholarship as “ public trust principles.” These public trust principles derive not solely from the common law doctrine but are based on a combination of common law, state constitutional provisions, and statutory provisions …

More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Aug. 31, 2011

The Agenda Behind the Republicans' Latest 'Jobs' Agenda: New CPR Report Reveals Effort to Gut Regulations Is Based on False Premises

Aug. 25, 2011

Platinum Industry Association Responds to My Critique of Their DQA Complaint

Aug. 23, 2011

Regulatory Look-Back Plans: No One Celebrates

Aug. 22, 2011

Never Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story: New BLS Data is Latest to Disprove Conservative Claims of 'Job-Killing Regulations'

Aug. 16, 2011

On Heels of Debunked Report, SBA's Office of Advocacy Solicits More Anti-Regulatory Research

Aug. 12, 2011

Legs of Two 17-Year-Olds Severed in Grain Auger, White House Sits on Young Worker Safety Rule

Aug. 12, 2011

Thought We Wouldn't Notice: Blanche Lincoln Quietly Switches to New Version of Debunked SBA Regulatory Costs Stat