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  1. Toxic Sand? OSHA’s Challenge in Regulating Crystalline Silica [Download]

    Title: Toxic Sand? OSHA’s Challenge in Regulating Crystalline Silica
    Author: Dudley, Susan E.
    Description: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new proposed regulation to reduce workplace exposure to crystalline silica has been almost 40 years in the making. Also called silicon dioxide (or, more commonly, quartz), crystalline silica occurs abundantly in sand, soil, and rock. OSHA first established a maximum permissible exposure level for crystalline silica in 1970 by adopting a consensus industry standard. Unfortunately, the form of that standard was obsolete by the time it was adopted, and OSHA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to modify it in 1974, but took no further action. Then, in 1994 OSHA identified crystalline silica as one of a few top priority safety and health hazards, and, two years later, the International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that “crystalline silica inhaled in the form of quartz or cristobalite from occupational sources is carcinogenic to humans.” In 1998, OSHA listed regulation of silica on its semi-annual agenda of upcoming regulatory actions and, by the fall of 1999, set itself a deadline of June 2000 for issuing a proposed rule. In 2002, OSHA revised the deadline to November 2003 and listed the proposed rule as one of its top priorities. This deadline kept slipping, however, until February 2011, when OSHA sent a draft of the rule to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for interagency review. This review took an unusually-long two-and-a-half years to complete, but culminated in OSHA publishing a proposal on its website on August 23, 2013.
    Keywords: Commentaries, Federal government, Regulation, Regulatory studies, Regulatory policy, Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  2. The Social Cost of Foregoing Public Participation in the SCC [Download]

    Title: The Social Cost of Foregoing Public Participation in the SCC
    Author: Dudley, Susan E.
    Description: The Department of Energy (“DOE”) is seeking public comment on whether it was appropriate to rely on an estimate of the “social cost of carbon” (“SCC”) in a final rulemaking without undergoing public comment. When DOE published a proposed rule to set energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens in February 2012, it sought public comment on its analysis of the regulation’s contribution toward reducing climate change, using an SCC of $25.6/metric ton. However, in June 2013, DOE defended its final rule with a much higher SCC value of $41.1/metric ton, increasing the anticipated net benefits of the rule by $438 million. An Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon had developed this new SCC, and presented it in a “Technical Support Document” (SCC-TSD) as a fait accompli to the public in May. Our comment to DOE agrees that the SCC is conceptually the right way for agencies to organize their analyses of climate impacts and coordinate across different agencies engaged in climate policy. However, the influential nature of the SCC value for a variety of future policies, as well as the difficulties and uncertainties of calculating the SCC, demand conscientious attention— including public comment and peer review—to the task of getting it right.
    Keywords: Regulation, Federal government, Commentaries, Regulatory studies, Regulatory policy, Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  3. Social Media in Rulemaking Workshop [Download]

    Title: Social Media in Rulemaking Workshop
    Author: Dudley, Susan E.
    Description: Federal agencies are increasingly turning to the Internet when conducting rulemaking. Regulations.gov, which originated as a central forum for agencies to post regulatory dockets and receive public comments, has offered expanding capabilities over its 10-year history. Nevertheless, according to a recent draft report prepared for the Administrative Conference of the United States, “for the most part, social media are used to get the word out about a rulemaking, but not as a mechanism through which the rulemaking is actually conducted.”
    Keywords: Regulation, Federal government, Commentaries, Regulatory policy, Regulatory studies, Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  4. Costs of New Regulations Issued in 2012 Dwarf Those of Previous Years, According to OMB Report [Download]

    Title: Costs of New Regulations Issued in 2012 Dwarf Those of Previous Years, According to OMB Report
    Author: Dudley, Susan E.
    Description: The Office of Management and Budget quietly released its draft 2013 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Regulations on Friday, April 19, covering regulatory activity through the end (September 30) of fiscal year 2012. Recall that, as the presidential election approached, the White House was widely reported to be restraining the regulatory agencies out of concern for the state of the economy. Now that the results are tallied, however, there is little evidence of restraint. By the administration’s own estimates, the rules it issued in FY2012 alone imposed more costs on the economy than all the rules issued during the entire first terms of Presidents Bush and Clinton, combined.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  5. The Unbearable Lightness of Being Regulated [Download]

    Title: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Regulated
    Author: Dudley, Susan E.
    Description: Among the priorities highlighted in the introductory chapters of President Obama’s proposed 2014 Budget is a commitment to “a regulatory strategy that protects the safety and health of all Americans, while promoting continued economic growth and job creation.” The Budget claims that by carefully weighing the costs and benefits of new rules, “the net benefits of regulations issued through the third fiscal year of the first term have exceeded $91 billion. This amount, including not only monetary savings, but also lives saved and injuries prevented, is over 25 times the net benefits through the third fiscal year of the previous Administration.”
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  6. Much-anticipated CO2 Emissions Rule Renders Zero Benefits or Costs in Agency Analysis [Download]

    Title: Much-anticipated CO2 Emissions Rule Renders Zero Benefits or Costs in Agency Analysis
    Author: Miller, Sofie E.
    Description: On September 20th, the Environmental Protection Agency released a much-anticipated proposed rule that would limit the emissions of CO2 by new coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, or electric utility generating units (EGUs). This proposal is one of many regulatory actions being undertaken by the Obama administration to curb carbon emissions, and is the first uniform federal limit on CO2 production for new power plants. Carbon emissions from existing power plants are currently regulated by state implementation of federal guidelines, and next year EPA will propose federal standards for existing plants. Interestingly enough, EPA’s analysis suggests that the proposed rule doesn’t exert any meaningful requirement on emissions from new power plants: “Because these [proposed] standards are in line with current industry investment patterns, these standards are not expected to have notable costs and are not projected to impact electricity prices or reliability.” In other words, EPA is projecting that, even without the proposed standards, emissions would have fallen by a comparable amount due to shifts from investment in coal plants to natural gas-fired plants, which have lower CO2 emissions. EPA makes the same point even more clearly in its regulatory impact analysis (RIA): “the proposed EGU New Source GHG [greenhouse gas] Standards are not expected to change GHG emissions for newly constructed EGUs, and are anticipated to yield no monetized benefits and impose negligible costs, economic impacts, or energy impacts on the electricity sector or society.” According to the agency’s analysis, EPA presumes that any costs incurred by power plants will be at least partially recovered through sale of captured carbon.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Public policy, Regulatory policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  7. Reducing Burdens? Tier 3 Tells Another Story [Download]

    Title: Reducing Burdens? Tier 3 Tells Another Story
    Author: Miller, Sofie E.
    Description: Recognizing that unjustified regulatory burdens can be particularly challenging in a weak economy, President Obama issued Executive Order 13563 instructing each regulatory agency to “periodically review its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed so as to make the agency’s regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.” While the public focus of this initiative is on reducing regulatory burdens, some of the most significant actions appear to be increasing them, as the administration’s recently proposed Tier 3 vehicle emission and fuel standard illustrates.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  8. Retrospective Review of Risk-Based Regulations [Download]

    Title: Retrospective Review of Risk-Based Regulations
    Author: Dudley, Susan E.
    Description: The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center has identified retrospective review of regulations, particularly those aimed at reducing health, safety, and environmental risk, as a key research priority. As President Obama observed, “during challenging economic times …it is particularly important for agencies to conduct retrospective analyses of existing rules to examine whether they remain justified and whether they should be modified or streamlined in light of changed circumstances...” Yet effective retrospective review of regulation remains elusive, and too often, exante predictions of regulatory outcomes (reductions in health risks, benefits and costs) are not verified with empirical data ex post. To generate constructive recommendations to address this problem, RSC organized a conference on Capitol Hill to explore the possible reasons for the lack of ex post evaluation, and examine approaches to improve both the analytical tools for measuring actual effects of risk-reducing regulation, and the incentives to do so.
    Keywords: Regulation, Federal government, Commentaries, Regulatory studies, Regulatory policy, Public policy
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  9. TSA Must Subject its Controversial Passenger Screening to Public Scrutiny [Download]

    Title: TSA Must Subject its Controversial Passenger Screening to Public Scrutiny
    Author: Miller, Sofie E.
    Description: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has used advanced imaging technology (AIT) to screen airline passengers for weapons since 2007. While the traveling public and defenders of civil liberties have been vocally critical of the practice, those objections have largely fallen on deaf ears. That is because the TSA implemented the procedures without ever publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking or a final rule—effectively ensuring that TSA never sought comments from the public on its plan. However, this is about to change. Last week, under order from the court and six years after the controversial policy’s implementation, TSA published an economically significant proposed rule seeking comments from the public on TSA’s use of AIT. Unfortunately, TSA’s sidestepping the public in this matter is an indicator of a broader trend; more and more, agencies are issuing major final rules without any input from the public. A recent Government Accountability Office report found that for major rules promulgated between 2003 and 2010, over one-third did not go through notice-and-comment rulemaking, and are given the force of law without public input.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018
  10. 20 Years of Executive Order 12866 [Download]

    Title: 20 Years of Executive Order 12866
    Author: Miller, Sofie E.
    Description: Last week marked the 20th anniversary of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, which was signed by President Clinton on September 30, 1993 and published in the Federal Register on October 4, 1993. EO 12866 built on previous regulatory oversight executive orders in establishing the process through which federal regulatory actions are reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to ensure the consistency of agency actions with Presidential priorities, to coordinate regulatory policy between agencies, and to provide a dispassionate and analytical “second opinion” on agency actions.
    Keywords: Regulation, Commentaries, Federal government, Regulatory policy, Public policy, Regulatory studies
    Date Uploaded: 03/31/2018