Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last minute Bush push threatens workers, consumers and environment

The Bush administration is in a midnight frenzy, churning out a stream of regulations designed to cement its right-wing legacy of damage to the environment and attacks on workers and consumers. If successful, a virtual dream list of ultra-conservative wishes could go into effect, saddling both the incoming Obama administration and the American people for a long time to come.

The new Bush rules roll back or weaken regulations on job safety, family leave, airline safety and many other areas.

Commenting on the administration’s “midnight move,” Matthew Madia, president of the nonprofit watchdog group OMB Watch said, “It’s environmental regulations, it’s worker safety, it’s reproductive health, it’s traffic safety, but the common theme is that the Bush administration is trying to remove restrictions on business and allow them to operate without any kind of government oversight. It’s intended to make sure that the kind of ideology and priorities that the Bush administration believes in are affecting the country for many years.”

A recent article in the Washington Post noted that at least 90 new regulations are being rammed through in the last minute. Worse yet, the paper noted, if they become final before Bush leaves office, “they typically can be undone only through a laborious new regulatory proceeding, including lengthy periods of public comment, drafting and mandated reanalysis.”

New regulations of the type Bush is issuing become final after they are published in the Federal register but usually don’t go into effect until a 60-day Congressional comment period expires. In order to sidestep even this review, however, the administration has dropped the comment period from 60 to 30 days.

The shortening of that period ensures that most of the last-minute Bush regulations will actually be in effect when president-elect Barack Obama takes office Jan. 20.

The Washington post said, in an editorial, “That’s why the business community is pressing hard for the Bush administration to move quickly. Lobbyists fear that industry views will hold less sway after the elections. The doors at the Executive Office Building have been whirling with corporate officials and advisers pleading for relief or, in many cases, for hastened decision making."    (Continued via    [Ergonomics Resources]

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