July 29, 2016 by Matt Shudtz

CPR Lauds OSHA's Continued Vigilance over Rampant Dangers in the Poultry Slaughter Industry

Earlier this week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Pilgrim's Pride, one of the world's largest poultry processors, with more than a dozen serious workplace health and safety violations. CPR Executive Director Matthew Shudtz issued the following statement today: 

Credit OSHA for pushing the envelope. The poultry slaughter industry loves to tout its declining injury rates, but outside experts have many reasons to believe the industry's cooking its books. This isn't the first time OSHA's investigators have uncovered the sophisticated sabotage of worker protections. That's why it is so important for OSHA's lawyers to carry this case through and hold Pilgrim's Pride accountable. Make no mistake, the rest of the industry is watching.

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The Center for Progressive Reform is a nonprofit research and educational organization with a network of Member Scholars working to protect health, safety, and the environment through analysis and commentary. Read CPRBlog, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

July 29, 2016 by Evan Isaacson

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? More to the point, if law enforcement issues a civil or criminal fine or sentence without anyone knowing, does it have an effect?

Thinking back to my criminal law course, I recall such philosophical discussions over the various theories justifying criminal penalties, such as incapacitation of the perpetrator, justice for the victim, and restoration of damages. But perhaps the most important theoretical basis for punishment – and I would think this is certainly true for punishment of environmental violations – is deterrence.

Leaving the realm of theory and philosophy, some recent stories in the news had me thinking once again about the state of environmental enforcement and the lack of deterrence. As I see it, two things must occur for a penalty to properly deter future violations: (1) the penalty must be …

July 20, 2016 by Alejandro Camacho

Whether it's raging wildfires in the West, catastrophic flooding in the East and Upper Midwest, or rising sea levels on the coasts, there is no question that climate change is affecting and will continue to significantly impact our public lands and the resources they both provide and protect. As a nation, we need to be prepared for these changes and find effective ways to adapt. 

To develop a snapshot of the scope and efficacy of such efforts thus far, we assessed the extent to which each of the four principal federal land management agencies – the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management – have (or have not) started preparing, whether through regulatory standards or otherwise, for the anticipated adverse impacts of climate change on the lands and resources under their jurisdictions. 

After surveying …

July 14, 2016 by James Goodwin

In an earlier post, CPR Member Scholar Robert Glicksman discussed the need for the next president to champion a truly positive vision of government and regulation. A new way of thinking and talking about these issues is critically important, and the president should play a key role in charting this course. 

While a rhetorical shift is important and long overdue, it is also crucial that the next president be prepared to match actions to words. Consequently, the next president should also commit to building a 21st century regulatory system, one that makes good on the promise of a positive vision of government by working to protect our health, safety, environment, and financial security. Continued political gridlock in Congress – if that's what the November election yields – will likely defeat timely and effective legislative responses to public threats of harm. Instead, if any such protections are to come …

July 13, 2016 by Hannah Wiseman

When Congress extensively amended the Clean Air Act in 1970 to form the air pollution laws that we know today, it spoke in no uncertain terms about the breadth of federal authority in this area while also centrally involving states in the effort to clean up the nation's air. Congress directed the EPA Administrator to list the pollutants "which in his judgment" have "an adverse effect on public health and welfare" and are generated from "numerous or diverse" sources – pollutants known as "criteria" pollutants that threaten public health and the environment.1

To protect our health and the nation's valuable crops, buildings, and ecosystems, the EPA is required to establish maximum acceptable concentrations of these criteria air pollutants, and states have to write plans to keep them below those concentrations.2 If the plans do not meet the requirements of the law, Congress provided that …

July 7, 2016 by Sidney Shapiro

Originally published on RegBlog by CPR Member Scholar Sidney Shapiro.

Although it is well known that regulatory capture can subvert the public interest, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are two forms of capture that can affect the performance of regulatory agencies.

The "old capture"—which is what most of us think of when we think of regulatory capture—occurs when regulators become so co-opted by the regulated entities or special interests they are supposed to regulate that they end up working to advance those interests instead of the public interest articulated in their statutory mission. In the "new capture," regulators attempt to serve the public interest, but they are stymied by procedural requirements that have gummed up the regulatory process and by deep budget cuts that make it more difficult to comply with those requirements. Both forms of capture subvert the public interest, but it …

July 6, 2016 by James Goodwin

This afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law will hold an oversight hearing that looks at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the powerful White House bureau that sits at the center of the regulatory universe. 

Originally created to oversee federal agencies' implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act, a series of presidential executive orders stretching back to the Reagan administration has endowed OIRA with a powerful gatekeeping role over executive agencies' rulemaking output: no final rule of any consequence can see the light of day without OIRA's imprimatur. As CPR has documented for several years now, OIRA has generally wielded this power in an anti-regulatory fashion, typically working on behalf of politically connected industry lobbyists to block, delay, or dilute public safeguards. This pattern has held for presidential administrations from both parties. 

Headlining the hearing is OIRA …

July 5, 2016 by Evan Isaacson

For decades, politicians, advocates, and the press have lamented America's aging, deteriorating, or even failing infrastructure and called for change – usually to little avail. Perhaps another strategy should be to celebrate success wherever we see it and spotlight achievements to demonstrate that we can change the situation if we choose key public investments over apathy and short-sighted budget cuts. Just a few weeks ago, residents and advocates in the Chesapeake Bay region heard one such infrastructure success story.

In mid-June, Shawn Garvin, the Mid-Atlantic regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stood beside George Hawkins, CEO of DC Water, and other officials at the Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant to applaud the completion of the plant's upgrade with more than a billion of dollars' worth of advanced pollution control technology, making it the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the world. Garvin also referenced …

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More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
July 29, 2016

CPR Lauds OSHA's Continued Vigilance over Rampant Dangers in the Poultry Slaughter Industry

July 29, 2016

Hidden Penalties and Secretive Settlements Make for Lousy Enforcement Policy

July 20, 2016

On Climate Change Preparation, Record of Land Management Agencies Is Mixed

July 14, 2016

Memo to the Next President: Build a Regulatory System That Works for the People

July 13, 2016

The Clean Power Plan: Achieving Clean Air Act Goals with Flexibility and Cleaner Energy

July 7, 2016

Old and New Capture

July 6, 2016

CPR's Driesen to Give House Judiciary a Tough Review of OIRA