CPR Issue Alert: Administration's Failure to Adopt Needed Safeguards in a Timely Way is Costing Lives and Money

by Rena Steinzor

March 02, 2012

The toll:  An estimated 6,500 to 17,967 premature deaths, 9,867 non-fatal heart attacks, 3,947 cases of chronic bronchitis, and more than 2.3 million lost work and school days. That's just a partial tally of the costs Americans will bear because of unjustified delays in two critical health and safety regulations.  More broadly, the Administration’s Fall 2011 Regulatory Agenda—released late, at the end of January of 2012—shows how many of the most important rules currently in the regulatory pipeline are being similarly delayed, leaving people and the environment inadequately protected against a number of unreasonable risks, possibly for years to come.

Working from the latest regulatory agenda, a new CPR Issue Alert assesses the Obama Administration’s progress in completing 12 key regulatory actions identified in a CPR white paper issued last April. A group of CPR Member Scholars and CPR Policy Analysts warned in that paper that the Administration’s failure to bring a sense of urgency to the job of completing the rules had opened the door to the very real prospect that nine of the twelve might get caught up in the backwash of the 2012 presidential campaign, and indeed might never be completed by the current Administration.

That bleak prediction is coming true before our eyes. Progress on the great majority of these regulatory actions has been delayed further over the last 10 months, and it is now likely most of the rules will not go into effect during the current presidential term.

Safeguards Delayed

Specifically, the latest regulatory agenda confirms the following:

The CPR Issue Alert examines each of the 12 regulatory actions in detail, providing an update on the progress that the Obama Administration has made to this point and assessing the prospects for timely and effective completion of work on these safeguards.  It concludes by considering the possible impacts of the upcoming election on those regulatory actions that the current Administration fails to complete in time.

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Also from Rena Steinzor

Rena Steinzor is a Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and a past president of the Center for Progressive Reform. She is the author of Why Not Jail? Industrial Catastrophes, Corporate Malfeasance, and Government Inaction.

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