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 …
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 …
Every year, Thomson Reuters and West Publishing compile a set of significant and influential articles from a number of legal scholars who focus on land use and environmental law. The Land Use & Environment Law Review represents some of the best scholarship on these issues, and peer reviewers recently included five pieces on environmental law published in 2014 and 2015.
Among the selected articles are two from CPR Member Scholar Hannah Wiseman, Professor at Florida State University College of Law, and one from Member Scholar Alejandro Camacho, Professor at the UC-Irvine School of Law.
The reviewers also designated a longer list of authors and articles as finalists, and CPR Member Scholars were well represented. Robin Kundis Craig, Daniel Farber, Robert Glicksman, Dave Owen, Amy Sinden, and Wendy Wagner all had articles included on the finalist list.
You can find both lists and links to the scholars' articles …
It's common knowledge that our energy choices impact the planet's climate, but less widely known is how climate change and its intensified storms, heat waves, droughts, and water shortages affect our energy grid. Already vulnerable, the grid can suffer catastrophic damage when a storm like Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy strikes.
From rancid food to emergency-room nightmares, communities take a punch when the lights go out. The nation's aging power grid leaves us very susceptible to such risks. And the growing intensity of floods and storms on account of climate change make things even worse.
We hear a lot about how energy policy will affect climate impacts. Less appreciated, but equally important, are the …
In a new op-ed published in the Raleigh News & Observer, Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar and Board Member Sidney Shapiro examines two recent examples of politics getting in the way of protecting people and the environment in North Carolina. As he explains, the politicization of science by state officials has serious ramifications for the ability of agencies and scientists to safeguard residents from toxic chemicals, rising sea levels, and more.
The following is an excerpt from the op-ed:
Recently, two prominent scientific experts resigned from the North Carolina government to protest the state's disregard for scientific input in state policy.
Dr. Megan Davies, a state epidemiologist, resigned to protest state environmental officials' rejection of stringent testing standards to determine the safety of private drinking water wells near coal ash ponds that have leaked dangerous chemicals into the water supply. Earlier, Dr. Stan Riggs, a …
NEWS RELEASE: Memo to the Next President: Let's Make Government Work for All of Us
Over the past several weeks, the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) has urged the next president to take a constructive approach to our government and our system of health, safety, environmental, and financial safeguards. With Election Day just three months away, CPR is releasing a new paper that expands on those themes and provides a comprehensive blueprint for how the next president can rebuild our system of regulatory protections.
The new paper, Memo to the Next President: A Progressive Vision of Government and Protective Safeguards, calls on the next leader of the United States to put forth a positive vision of government and to ensure that our system for developing regulatory protections advances the public interest.
"The decades-long campaign against regulation and government helped set the stage for avoidable disasters such …
NEWS RELEASE: New Report: When OSHA Gives Discounts on Danger, Workers Are Put at Risk
As Agency Prepares to Increase Maximum Penalty Levels for Workplace Health and Safety Violations, It Should Reexamine Settlement Policy
Workplace health and safety standards exist for a reason. When companies ignore them, they put their workers in significant danger. Every year, thousands of workers die on the job in the United States, and many more are seriously injured. Unfortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) tools to hold employers accountable for endangering workers have been woefully inadequate for decades. While some of those tools are slated to become stronger, a new report from the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) shows that the agency needs to seize the moment to reassess additional policies to better deter violators and prevent worker deaths and injuries.
The CPR report, OSHA's Discount on Danger: OSHA Should …
With the congressional majority continuing to gut enforcement budgets, forcing federal environmental and workplace safety agencies to cut staff, criminal prosecution of corporate bad actors is more important than ever. That's the thrust of Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar Rena Steinzor's commentary in the May/June issue of The Environmental Forum, the policy journal of the Environmental Law Institute.
As Steinzor notes in the piece:
The BP oil spill and Volkswagen emissions cheating scandals, by their size and audacity, should motivate significant changes in the approach to criminal environmental enforcement, and if those changes make the federal Department of Justice more aggressive, they will come just in time, because EPA and the states’ routine civil enforcement is arguably in worse shape than at any time since the agency was created 46 years ago. EPA has endured a decade of deep budget cuts …
NEWS RELEASE: New Paper Shows Americans Hurt By Forced Arbitration Agreements with Big Banks, Credit Card Companies
Forthcoming Rule from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Offers Some Solutions, but More Can Be Done to Protect Consumers
Opening a checking account or using a credit card is an essential, everyday activity for many Americans, but most financial services are governed by pages of fine print, much of which is difficult to navigate and understand. As a new paper from the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) shows, these contracts often contain forced arbitration clauses that severely restrict consumer rights and frustrate corporate accountability.
The CPR paper, Regulating Forced Arbitration in Consumer Financial Services: Re-Opening the Courthouse Doors to Victimized Consumers, is being released the day before a widely anticipated proposed rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). CPR and other consumer protection experts expect the proposal to restrict the …
Lisa Heinzerling, a Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar and Georgetown University Professor of Law, published a piece this week on The Conversation that explores the ongoing political debate over environmental regulations.
In particular, Heinzerling calls out the often misleading claims about the costs of safeguards that protect our air, water, health, and wild places:
Specifically, the 2010 Small Business Administration regulatory costs study misinterpreted a World Bank database and drew unsupportable conclusions from it. The study also included the costs of rules that did not exist because either agencies or courts pulled them back. It relied on a 1974 study by the National Association of Manufacturers to estimate the cost of workplace safety regulations today, and double-counted rules in estimating costs.
Even when performed more carefully, estimates of regulatory costs have often proved too high. For example, the actual costs of the national emissions trading program …