Two years remain in the Obama Administration, and that is more than enough time to finalize all of the essential 13 regulatory actions outlined in this Issue Alert. While many of these rules have been subject to years of delays, the reality is that completing these rulemakings need not pose the Administration much of a challenge. The agencies responsible for these rules already have the clear authority—if not legal obligation—to issue them as quickly as possible. Translating those imperatives into timely action only requires political will.
These essential 13 regulatory actions offer President Obama an important opportunity to make meaningful progress on matters of public health, safety, and the environment, at a time when legislative solutions to these problems will not be forthcoming. It does not matter that the recent election results all but guarantee that Congress is unlikely to work constructively with the President to pass meaningful legislation, because the President already has the legal authority—thanks to previous Congresses that could see fit to pass such forward-looking statutes as the Clean Air Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act—to improve the lives of current and future Americans. Through these essential 13 regulatory actions, the Obama Administration can tackle such pressing matters as global climate disruption, dangerous threats to the U.S. food supply, and the ever-growing problem of non-point source pollution that threatens the health of our critical water resources. To do this, it simply needs to develop rules that incorporate the strongest possible protections and safeguards and pursue them with the vigor they deserve.