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Oct. 31, 2016 by Brian Gumm

CPR's Heinzerling Calls on Next President to Scrap White House Regulatory Review Process, Start from Scratch

Earlier this month, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy published a collection of essays filled with legal and policy recommendations for the next president. Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar Lisa Heinzerling closed out the publication with a piece on improving federal environmental policy, which includes recommendations for how the next president can ensure that the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) stays out of the way. 

Under the auspices of a series of executive orders, OIRA has been interfering with agency rulemaking and the development of crucial public protections for decades. From closed-door meetings with industry lobbyists to inappropriate substantive changes that overrule the judgment of agency scientists and other experts, OIRA has not done enough to support agency actions in pursuit of cleaner air and water, better protected natural resources, and safer workplaces. Instead, OIRA's record is marred by repeated efforts to weaken rules for the sake of political expediency. 

As Heinzerling notes in her essay, this has to stop: 

The next president should dismantle this process and start from scratch. The primary method through which the president should exercise control over the executive agencies is the one envisioned in the Constitution …

Oct. 27, 2016 by Alice Kaswan
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It's been a month since the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments on the Clean Power Plan, and the nation is in wait-and-see mode. But our report, Untapped Potential: The Carbon Reductions Left Out of EPA's Clean Power Plan, released today by the Center for Progressive Reform, shows that, even if the Plan is upheld, continued climate initiatives to control existing power plant emissions are warranted and workable.

Our analysis demonstrates that EPA identified numerous available reduction opportunities that were not incorporated into the Clean Power Plan's requirements. By 2030, these opportunities could have reduced emissions from existing sources by almost 400 million tons of carbon per year in comparison with the Clean Power Plan's requirements.

Whether EPA should or shouldn't have incorporated them into the Clean Power Plan is not the point. What is the point: given the pressing risks of …

Oct. 26, 2016 by Matthew Freeman
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Whatever else may be said about Ken Bone, the red-sweatered citizen questioner at the second presidential debate earned an important place in the pantheon of presidential debates: He's the only person to ask a debate question remotely related to climate change in the last eight years.

As it happens, his question wasn't all that direct, since it didn't actually use the words "climate change." Here's what he asked: "What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly, and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?"

Donald Trump, not surprisingly, wasn't all that interested in talking about climate change, what with it being a Chinese hoax and all that. To her credit, Hillary Clinton made the connection, actually uttering the words, "climate change," as part of a discussion about the economics …

Oct. 18, 2016 by David Flores
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To date, climate adaptation and resilience planning efforts on the local, state, and federal levels have largely focused on protecting residential, commercial, and municipal infrastructure from sea level rise and deadly storm surge through such structural practices as shoreline armoring. However, a growing number of advocates are raising concerns about the threat that extreme weather poses to the low-income communities and communities of color that are disproportionately situated near industrial facilities vulnerable to flooding. 

Industrial facilities – oil and gas, manufacturing, chemical, and agricultural – are often sited within floodplains to permit access to water for transport and industrial process and are ill-equipped to prevent hazardous material spills and leaks caused by extreme precipitation, flooding, and storm surge. As a result, neighboring communities are at particular risk of exposure to these dangerous substances during and following extreme weather events. Community members and first responders face not only the immediate …

Oct. 17, 2016 by
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Today, the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) is releasing an assessment of the plans and progress of Baltimore City and the nine largest counties in Maryland to comply with their federal stormwater permits, a key component of the ongoing effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and restore it to health. The analysis looks carefully at the jurisdictions' past efforts and future plans, revealing a wide range in the apparent commitment and level of restoration activity as they work to restore their urban and suburban environments and address polluted runoff from impervious surfaces like roads and parking lots.

Several jurisdictions like Montgomery and Prince George's counties have a long history of innovative stormwater management work and submitted relatively strong plans. Other jurisdictions, however, did not produce plans that meet their legal obligations to identify enough stormwater projects to satisfy their permits. Some jurisdictions, like Frederick and …

Oct. 12, 2016 by Brian Gumm
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NEWS RELEASE: Center for Progressive Reform Welcomes New Climate Adaptation Policy Analyst

Today, the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) announced that David Flores has joined the organization as its new policy analyst. Flores will serve alongside the group's staff and Member Scholars in their efforts to protect public health and the environment, with a particular focus on ways communities and the Chesapeake Bay region can adapt to climate change in a fair, just, inclusive manner. 

"I'm excited to welcome David Flores to our team," said Matthew Shudtz, executive director of CPR. "CPR is embarking on several new, exciting projects related to climate change and adaptation strategies, and David has a keen sense of how CPR can succeed in this crucial area of work. He's a smart analyst and a strategic advocate – the perfect person to work alongside our Member Scholars and our allies to …

Oct. 10, 2016 by James Goodwin
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Originally published by the Oxford Business Law Blog. Reprinted with permission.

Forced arbitration clauses are now almost impossible to avoid in consumer contracts for financial services and products ranging from credit cards to private student loans. Despite their ubiquity, most consumers aren't even aware of them. This is because companies frequently bury them deep in the lengthy fine print of their contracts, which they then offer to consumers on a 'take it or leave it' basis.

Forced arbitration clauses warrant close scrutiny from policymakers and the public because their abuse poses a significant threat to the financial well-being of millions of Americans. What they say is that if you have a dispute with your financial services company and can't persuade the company to address the harm it has caused, you are prohibited from suing the corporation in court. Instead, your only option is to try …

Oct. 5, 2016 by Katie Tracy
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When it comes to worker health and safety, preventing injuries and illnesses is the number one goal. It was for this very purpose that Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and tasked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with setting and enforcing strong workplace standards. But when preventative measures fail and workers are harmed, agency enforcement actions against the employer (while necessary) don't provide legal redress to workers or their families for the damages they've incurred. Instead, recovering damages often necessitates they hire a private attorney to help them navigate this complex area of the law. 

The attorneys who take these cases play a critical role in workers' rights advocacy, and their experience offers a unique perspective that can help advocates better understand the challenges workers face and opportunities for overcoming them. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with …

Oct. 3, 2016 by Bill Funk
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Originally posted at Notice & Comment, a blog of the Yale Journal on Regulation and the American Bar Association Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, as part of an online symposium entitled Reflections on Seminole Rock: The Past, Present, and Future of Deference to Agency Regulatory Interpretations. Reprinted with permission.

The Separation of Powers Restoration Act, or more easily known as SOPRA, is not a complicated bill. If enacted, it would amend the Administrative Procedure Act to require courts to decide de novo all questions of law, whether constitutional, statutory, or regulatory. As the House Report makes abundantly clear, the intent is to overrule statutorily both Chevron, USA, Inc. v. NRDC and Auer v. Robbins (and its forebear Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co.), but not Skidmore v. Swift & Co. 

The idea is not new. Indeed, beginning in 1975, well before Chevron began its …

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CPR HOMEPAGE
More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
Oct. 31, 2016

CPR's Heinzerling Calls on Next President to Scrap White House Regulatory Review Process, Start from Scratch

Oct. 27, 2016

Untapped Potential: Emissions Reduction Initiatives Beyond Clean Power Plan Are Warranted, Workable

Oct. 26, 2016

Climate Change Goes Missing from the Debates

Oct. 18, 2016

Climate Change Threatens Communities with Dangerous Spills and Contamination from Nearby Industrial Facilities

Oct. 17, 2016

Assessment Finds Wide Variety in Quality of County Stormwater Plans in Maryland

Oct. 12, 2016

Center for Progressive Reform Welcomes New Climate Adaptation Policy Analyst

Oct. 10, 2016

It's Time to Give Customers of Financial Services and Products Their Day in Court