CPR Archive for Ben Somberg

Key EPA Air Pollution Rule Runs Past 120 Day Deadline at White House

by Ben Somberg | September 15, 2012

The Administration has just missed another deadline on issuing the final revised “boiler MACT” rule. The revised version of the rule will provide less pollution reduction than the original version, but is still expected to prevent thousands of deaths each year.

The EPA had pledged for many months that the rule would be finalized in April. It later said the rule would be finalized in the “spring.” On May 17, the agency sent the rule to the White House’s Office of ...

Bill Clinton: After Oklahoma City Bombing, I Promised Myself I Would Never Bash Government Bureaucrats

by Ben Somberg | September 12, 2012
Former President Bill Clinton, campaigning for President Obama in Florida on Tuesday, the 9/11 anniversary, offered a passionate defense of government employees, the AP noted. I was curious about the whole quote, so I watched and wrote it out (via C-SPAN, at 34:55): On this day, of all days, we should know that there are good and noble people who work for the government. I remember when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred – which, before 9/11, was the biggest terrorist ...

Romney Falsely Claims Health Benefits of Utility MACT Are Due to Bankrupting Coal Companies -- Not Pollution Reduction Equipment

by Ben Somberg | September 06, 2012
Mitt Romney added a new twist Tuesday to false right-wing claims about the EPA’s regulation limiting mercury and other pollutants from coal power plants.  EPA estimated that the “utility MACT” will have annual monetized benefits of $37-90 billion and costs of $9.6 billion. A critique we’ve heard over and over again from the industry and its supporters goes something like this: “But only $6 million of those benefits come from reducing mercury pollution, the top target of the rule!” It’s sort of ...

Draft Republican Platform Cites Debunked Regulatory Costs Study, Suggests Rules be Only a 'Helpful Guide'

by Ben Somberg | August 27, 2012
A draft of the Republican party platform, posted by Politico on Friday afternoon, reveals that the party has incorporated some of the more absurd claims and proposals on regulations pushed by House Republicans and some more radical trade organizations.  The draft claims regulations cost $1.75 trillion each year – that’s from a discredited study sponsored by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. It turned out that 70 percent of that figure came from a regression analysis based on opinion ...

Obama Campaign Inches Closer to Asserting that Coal Does Not Kill People

by Ben Somberg | August 15, 2012
Last week, President Obama’s campaign earned green criticism for airing a radio ad in Ohio that portrayed the President as pro-coal, and Mitt Romney as anti-coal. The ad asserted that Obama has been good for the coal industry, and then said: And Mitt Romney? He’s attacking the president’s record on coal. But here’s what Romney said in 2003, at a press conference in front of a coal plant: “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And ...

White House Now Not Sure it is Interested at All in Public's Ideas for Strengthening Existing Rules

by Ben Somberg | July 18, 2012
The White House’s message on its program for retrospectively reviewing existing regulations just shifted a little further away from recognizing the need for protective regulations for health, safety, and the environment. First the White House said it was interested in "expanding" certain existing regulations, if appropriate. Then it said it was interested in hearing ideas from the public on expanding regulations, but officially considers those ideas to be a lower priority than ideas that would weaken regulations. Now today, a ...

Safe Drinking Water Act Provides EPA Key Opportunity to Regulate BPA

by Ben Somberg | June 27, 2012
Member Scholar Noah Sachs and Policy Analyst Aimee Simpson have sent a letter to the EPA nominating the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) to be included on the “Fourth Contaminant Candidate List” for possible regulation. They write: Pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 (SDWA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must compile a list of unregulated contaminants that are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems and may require regulation under the SDWA.  EPA then ...

Summer is Here, and With it Another Missed Deadline for a Key Regulation

by Ben Somberg | June 22, 2012
The EPA has quietly missed another deadline on issuing the final revised “boiler MACT” rule. The agency had pledged for many months that the rule would be finalized in April. Then, in an April 30th “status report” filing with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the agency said: “EPA intends to take final action on this proposed rule in the Spring of 2012.” Wednesday was the first official day of summer. The revised version of the rule will provide less pollution ...

EPA Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee Nominees and Conflict of Interest Concerns

by Ben Somberg | June 15, 2012
CPR President Rena Steinzor and Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Shudtz sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson this morning concerning the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). From the letter: We are concerned that the recent establishment of the SAB Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee (CAAC) institutionalizes yet another opportunity for potentially regulated parties to disrupt the smooth development of new IRIS profiles. We are writing to encourage you to pay special attention to the nominees’ actual and perceived conflicts ...

Conservatives Blast Obama Administration for Its Environmental Actions in 2007

by Ben Somberg | June 12, 2012
Rep. Joe Barton, speaking at a hearing last week, stuck it to President Obama’s EPA (at 39:00): In Idaho, just recently, the Obama Administration went against a family called the Sacketts on a wetlands issue. Again, Mr. Chairman, the Congress sets the rules, and the Administration enforces them. This Obama Administration, in the case of the EPA, doesn’t want to play by the rules, they want to set their own rules. At issue is the case of Mike and Chantell ...

CPR Member Scholar Joel Mintz Testifying at House Hearing on EPA Enforcement

by Ben Somberg | June 06, 2012
The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power holds a hearing today on “EPA Enforcement Priorities and Practices.” CPR Member Scholar Joel Mintz, Professor at Nova Southeastern University Law Center, will be testifying. From his testimony: .. during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, the civil penalties assessed against environmental law violators averaged $117 million per year. In contrast, during the first three years of the Obama administration, EPA enforcement resulted in the assessment ...

Administration's Decision to Throw Young Agricultural Workers Under the Bus Fails To Sway Some Critics

by Ben Somberg | May 09, 2012
When the Administration withdrew a rule last month prohibiting young agricultural workers from performing some particularly dangerous tasks, the Department of Labor’s statement didnt't just say it was tabling the proposal, or reconsidering it, or even starting over from scratch. It went an extra step, adding: “To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.” Given that farm accidents are a very real concern, it's hard to read such an unusually vocal commitment ...

Administrative Conference of the United States Teams Up with Chamber of Commerce on Regulations

by Ben Somberg | April 30, 2012
In its own words, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is “an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research, providing nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for improvement of federal agency procedures.” On Tuesday afternoon, ACUS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are jointly sponsoring an event at the Chamber, “Next Steps & Implementation of ACUS Recommendations on: Incorporation by Reference & International Regulatory Cooperation.” That’s over the line, particularly given the agenda ...

Mitt Romney Struggles to Find an Actual Example of Obama Administration Regulatory Overreach

by Ben Somberg | April 19, 2012
On March 19, in a major economic policy address, Mitt Romney painted a portrait of a real-life "victim" of the Obama Administration’s supposed overregulation: This administration’s burdensome regulations are even invading the freedom of everyday Americans.  Mike and Chantell Sackett run a small business in Idaho.  They saved enough money to buy a piece of property and build a modest home on it. But days after they broke ground, an EPA regulator told them to stop digging. The EPA said ...

Member Scholars Write to EPA Concerning Slow Consideration of Citizen Environmental Complaints in NAFTA Countries

by Ben Somberg | April 02, 2012
When the United States signed NAFTA, it also signed the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), which allows, among other things, for citizens to submit complaints to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) with claims that their own governments are failing to enforce environmental laws. That key provision is in danger, a group of CPR Member Scholars say in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The letter was signed by CPR Member Scholars Rebecca Bratspies, Carmen G. Gonzalez, ...

Greenhouse Gas Rule Now Stalled at White House Beyond Time Limit of Executive Order

by Ben Somberg | March 06, 2012
On November 7 of last year, EPA sent the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) a rather important proposed rule – one that will, in some way, limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.  The Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standard for Electric Generating Units for New Sources has now been at OIRA for 120 days – the maximum allowed by Executive Order. Executive Order 12866 is pretty clear on the deadline for OIRA to return ...

American Chemistry Council Doesn't Get What it Wants in Omnibus; Pretends to EPA That it Does

by Ben Somberg | December 22, 2011
On Tuesday, the American Chemistry Council sent EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson a letter about the provisions regarding IRIS toxic chemical assessments in the omnibus spending bill. The ACC said: H.R. 2055 also directs EPA to include documentation describing how the NAS Chapter 7 recommendations have been implemented or addressed in all IRIS assessments released in Fiscal Year 2012. The documentation is to include an explanation for why certain recommendations were not incorporated. Thus, it is incumbent on EPA to fully ...

Three Years After Tennessee Disaster, U.S. Effort to Prevent the Next Coal Ash Catastrophe Faces Uncertain Future

by Ben Somberg | December 22, 2011
Three years ago today, an earthen wall holding back a giant coal ash impoundment failed in Kingston, Tennessee, sending more than a billion gallons of coal ash slurry over nearby land and into the Emory River. The ash had chemicals including arsenic, lead, and mercury. Clean up costs could be as much as $1.2 billion. Public policy progress often comes in the wake of disasters. But three years after Kingston, it very much remains to be seen whether that disaster ...

Also from Ben Somberg

Short Bio needs to be uploaded.

Simpler Government, or Secret and Unaccountable Government?

Somberg | Apr 04, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Who Will Run the EPA?

Somberg | Apr 01, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Mancini "Leads" OIRA as Deputy Administrator

Somberg | Mar 13, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

There is Now No OIRA Administrator

Somberg | Mar 11, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

Robert Glicksman Testifies in House Hearing on Regulatory Policy

Somberg | Feb 28, 2013 | Regulatory Policy

The Center for Progressive Reform

455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150-513
Washington, DC 20001
info@progressivereform.org
202.747.0698

© Center for Progressive Reform, 2015