The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has repeatedly inserted itself in the development of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program designed to study the effects of chemicals on human and animal endocrine systems.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently provided two assessments of EPA's weaknesses in enforcing water and air programs. The OIG cited management problems at the federal and regional levels that largely indict the Bush administration's lax approach to environmental enforcement.
Senate Republicans are blocking several of President Obama's nominees – often for reasons unrelated to the position – resulting in vacancies at the Department of Labor, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, and elsewhere. In addition, the Democratic leadership has not often combated Republican tactics, as nominations have slipped down the list of Senate priorities.
Unprecedented regulatory proposals and a paradigm-shifting federal court ruling are converging to put big polluters on the hook for their contributions to global warming. The developments raise the stakes for Congress as it considers whether to curb greenhouse gas emissions and how to do so.
Transparency is integral to a responsive, accountable, and ultimately functioning government, but it is also a vital component of a functioning economy. Indeed, a number of federal institutions exist to ensure that depositors, lenders, and borrowers have access to relevant financial data that allows them to engage in mutually beneficial transactions. The Obama administration's financial regulatory reform proposal acknowledges the important role that transparency plays in the economy's financial sector and contains a number of measures to increase transparency in the notoriously opaque financial system.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board's (CSB) investigation into the cause of a fatal 2008 explosion at a Georgia sugar refinery concludes that the Imperial Sugar Company and its managers did not take corrective actions to prevent dust explosions, even though they knew of potential hazards. The initial blast and subsequent dust explosions throughout the plant killed 14 workers and injured 36.
Eighty-nine percent of Americans support more aggressive food safety regulation, according to a poll commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The findings could place added pressure on Congress as it considers whether to make food safety reform a top legislative priority in 2009.