New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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The Obama Administration and Public Protections: A First-Year Regulatory Assessment

OMB Watch invites you to this webcast event.

Date and time: Thursday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time

Location: 2040 S St., NW, Washington, DC 20009 and live on the web!

Panelists: Michael Fitzpatrick, White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (invited); Pam Gilbert, Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca; Peg Seminario, AFL-CIO; Wesley Warren, Natural Resources Defense Council. Moderated by Gary Bass, OMB Watch.

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Reforming Regulatory Policy in the Obama Administration

OMB Watch continues to work with the Obama administration to develop and implement reforms that better enable federal agencies to protect public health, safety, and the environment through regulation. Below is a list of recommendations and comments OMB Watch has submitted to the administration thus far.

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Time’s about up for OIRA on Coal Ash Rule

Coal ash pond Today, Jan. 14, marks day 90 of the White House’s review of EPA’s proposed coal ash regulation. As I blogged on Monday, the rule has been discussed at dozens of meetings featuring the EPA, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), and various stakeholders. My updated count has industry stakeholders at 22 meetings and environmental stakeholders at four.

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Hundreds of Rules May Be Void after Agencies Miss Procedural Step

Regulatory agencies are routinely violating federal law by not submitting final regulations to Congress, according to a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report. Any rule agencies have not submitted to Congress could be susceptible to a lawsuit.

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Improving Implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act

On Oct. 27, 2009, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) opened a public comment process on ways to improve implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The PRA covers a range of information resource management issues and topics, although it is best known for creating OIRA and establishing a paperwork clearance procedure. The law was passed in 1980 and last reauthorized in 1995, well before current technological capabilities that allow for greater public participation and streamlined information collection and reporting.

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OIRA Meetings Stir Controversy over Coal Ash Regulation

Industry representatives have repeatedly visited the White House to discuss pending regulation of coal ash, raising suspicions that industry may be influencing the rule. In December, amid these meetings, EPA announced it was backing away from its earlier pledge to propose coal ash regulations by the end of 2009.

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EPA Takes Aim at Past Air Pollution Screw Ups

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a revision to the national air quality standard for ozone, a.k.a. smog. EPA is proposing to tighten the primary standard to a level somewhere between 0.060 and 0.070 ppm (parts per million), down from the current standard of 0.075 ppm set in 2008. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must set the primary standard at a level protective of public health.

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Whoops, Agencies Forget to Send Rules to Congress, Potentially Invalidating Them

Hundreds of regulations may not officially have the force and effect of law because rulemaking agencies have not performed a simple procedural task, according to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report issued last week.

Under the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that essentially gives Congress a window of opportunity to veto agency regulations, agencies must submit to Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) copies of new final regulations.

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OMB Watch Suggests Improvements for Information Policy

wrapping paperThere’s no time like the holidays – when packages are wrapped up tight with paper only to be torn apart – to talk about paperwork. That’s why OMB Watch has submitted to the White House comments on improving implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

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New OIRA Staffer Calls Attention to Office’s Role

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the clearinghouse for federal regulations, has brought in a conservative economist, Randall Lutter, to review regulatory proposals from agencies. The move has upset OIRA critics and unnerved those who interpret Lutter's past writings as a sign of his views on public health and environmental regulation. Those working inside government and those who know him argue that the criticisms of Lutter, a civil servant on temporary assignment to OIRA, are unfair.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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