Group Predicts What Might Happen To EHS Regulations UnderBush

A report from OMB Watch, the watchdog group that monitors\r\nfederal rulemaking, speculates what might happen to EHS regulations under the Bush Administration.

A report from OMB Watch, the watchdog group that monitors federal rulemaking, speculates what might happen to health, safety and environmental regulations under the Bush Administration.

"Some of the legislative attacks that faced veto threats from the Clinton Administration will have a green light when Bush takes office. This gives real hope to proponents of comprehensive regulatory ''reform'' -- and great concern to those who care about public health and safety, and the environment."

However, the group said the legislative threats may not be the problem. OMB Watch predicts that a host of new executive branch attacks will come to light.

Specifically, OMB Watch said that "protections for health, safety and the environment will be rolled back. Regulations still being worked on from the Clinton Administration will be put immediately on hold, and other regulations will likely be abandoned and revoked."

The group noted that this would include the tough new clean air standards, which are currently before the Supreme Court, and OSHA''s newly-effective ergonomics standard.

OMB Watch also predicted that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will take a more aggressive role in rejecting agency rules.

All agency rules are subject to OMB review and must be approved before they can take effect.

The cost of the rulemaking process will also be elevated under Bush, according to the group.

Under many health, safety and environmental statutes, agencies are prohibited from making regulatory decisions based on cost considerations because of the seriousness of the problem.

"Clean air standards, for instance, are to be based solely on what''s best for public health; costs are then considered during implementation with proper time-tables for compliance," said the report. "Conservatives in Congress would like to change this, and the Bush Administration would likely encourage them."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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