Regulatory Policy

Regulatory safeguards play a vital role in protecting us from hazards and ensuring that companies that pollute, make unsafe products, and create workplace hazards bear the cost of cleaning up their messes and preventing injuries and deaths. Still, the regulatory system is far from perfect: Rules take too long to develop; enforcement is often feeble; and political pressure from regulated industries has led to weak safeguards.

These systemic problems are made all the more severe by the determination of the Trump administration to undercut sensible safeguards across virtually all aspects of federal regulation. Moreover, the President and his team have taken aim at the the process by which such safeguards are developed, aiming to take a system already slanted in favor of industry profit at the expense of health, safety and the environment, and make it even less protective. For example, where critics of the use of cost-benefit analysis see a system that understates the value of safeguards and overstates the cost of implementing them -- making it difficult to adopt needed protections -- the Trump administration seeks simply to ignore benefits of safeguards, pretending they do not exist. The result is a regulatory system that fails to enforce landmark laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and more.

CPR exposes and opposes efforts by opponents of sensible safeguards to undermine the regulatory system, fighting back against knee-jerk opposition to environmental, health, and safety protections. Below, see what CPR Members Scholars and staff have had to say in reports, testimony, op-eds and more. Use the search box to narrow the list.

Poll: In Cost-Benefit Analysis, Voters Prioritize Climate Action, Environmental Protections, and Future Generations

A poll conducted by the Center for Progressive Reform and Data for Progress in January 2021 found broad public support for a progressive climate agenda that relies on regulatory action, even if it means slower economic growth. It also shows that the public opposes the process the government currently uses to assess the costs and benefits of regulations because it undervalues clean air, safe water, and a healthy climate. Poll results and analysis are available in two CPR and Data for Progress memos published in February 2021.

Type: Reports (Feb. 25, 2021)
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Author(s): James Goodwin
Biden Has the Power to Restore Good Governance

Since taking office, President Biden has pursued an active agenda to address many urgent matters that require his prompt attention. Writing for The Hill, CPR Member Scholar Robert Glicksman and colleague Richard Levy hope one important initiative does not get lost in transition: restoring the norms of good governance.

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 20, 2021)
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Author(s): Robert Glicksman
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon Should Hold Biden’s Feet to the Fire on Regulatory Agenda

In the midst of this long dark winter, it’s heartening to see the Biden administration lay out a bold agenda for a more secure, fair, and sustainable future. Holding the Biden administration to its promise to reform the regulatory process to “ensure swift and effective federal action” to “improve the lives of the American people” is a crucial part of that effort. From her perch on a key congressional committee with oversight over agencies and the rulemaking process, the Delaware Valley’s own Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon is well-positioned to do just that.

Type: Op-Eds (Feb. 18, 2021)
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Author(s): Amy Sinden
New National Poll Finds Americans Prioritize Environmental Protections over Faster Economic Growth by Overwhelming Margins

A new poll released by Data for Progress and the Center for Progressive Reform finds broad public support for a progressive climate agenda that relies on regulatory action, even if it means slower economic growth. It also shows that the public opposes the process the government currently uses to assess the costs and benefits of regulations because it undervalues clean air, safe water, and a healthy climate.

Type: News Releases (Feb. 2, 2021)
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Author(s): Brian Gumm, James Goodwin
Trump's Big Gamble to Gut U.S. Power Plant Emissions Rules Loses in Court, Opening a Door for New Climate Rules

Joe Biden got a big judicial win for his climate agenda just hours before his inauguration as U.S. president. The case involved federal plans for cutting power plant emissions and a big gamble by the Trump administration.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 20, 2021)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber
Biden Has a Congressional Shortcut to Cancel Trump's Regulatory Rollbacks, but It Comes with Risks

The Trump administration dedicated itself to deregulation with unprecedented fervor. It rolled back scores of regulations across government agencies, including more than 80 environmental rules. The Biden administration can reverse some of those actions quickly – for instance, as president, Joe Biden can undo Donald Trump’s executive orders with a stroke of the pen. He plans to restore U.S. involvement in the Paris climate agreement that way on his first day in office. Undoing most regulatory rollbacks, however, will require a review process that can take years, often followed by further delays during litigation. There is an alternative, but it comes with risks.

Type: Op-Eds (Jan. 18, 2021)
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Author(s): Daniel Farber
How Science Will Save the World

In a commentary for The Hill, CPR Member Scholar David Driesen examines the need to use science in policymaking, environmental and otherwise. He also lays out the consequences of ignoring or censoring science.

Type: Op-Eds (Dec. 16, 2020)
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Author(s): David Driesen
Biden Can Restore the EPA, But It Will Require Steadfast Effort

Writing in The Revelator, CPR Board Member Joel Mintz provides recommendations to the incoming Biden-Harris administration for repairing the damage Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Andrew Wheeler have caused at the EPA.

Type: Op-Eds (Dec. 9, 2020)
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Author(s): Joel Mintz
Joint Letter to Incoming Biden-Harris Administration on Regulatory Process Reform

CPR joined the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards and 94 other organizations in calling on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to direct the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to take on the mission of advancing a strong, proactive agenda for safeguarding the public, workers, and the environment. The groups offered a set of recommendations to help ensure that our regulatory system protects workers, consumers, our environment, and our economy.

Type: Letters to Agencies (Dec. 9, 2020)
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Center for Progressive Reform Launches New Initiative to Create a More Just, Sustainable America

The Center for Progressive Reform launched Policy for a Just America today, a major new initiative to use the tools of democracy to advance justice and equity, protect public and environmental health, and create a more sustainable future. The Trump administration has waged a sustained assault on our democracy and rolled back decades’ worth of health, safety, and environmental protections over the last four years. CPR’s Policy for a Just America aims not only to repair the damage but also to reimagine and rebuild our government so that it works for all people, not just the wealthy and powerful few.

Type: News Releases (Dec. 8, 2020)
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Author(s): Brian Gumm

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