NAM Says Agencies Should Open Up Regulatory Process

The National Association of Manufacturers told a congressional committee that regulatory agencies should open up the rulemaking process and consider implementation costs when issuing new regulations.

Testifying at a hearing regarding congressional responses to Clinton Administration midnight regulations, Mark Whitenton, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) vice president for Resources, Environment and Regulation, argued that regulatory agencies should "open up the rulemaking process, employ sound science as they issue new regulations and, where possible, consider implementation costs."

"Manufacturers certainly support health, safety and environmental rules that are founded in sound science and developed in a deliberative and public process that is as cost-effective as possible," Whitenton told the House Government Reform Committee''s Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee.

He noted, however, that, "A number of rules that were hurried through the promulgation process in the final days of the Clinton Administration suffered from a demonstrable deficiency in these essential qualities of responsible rulemaking."

Whitenton told the committee that Congress needs to tighten its broad grants of authority as he cited several recent examples of what he called "regulatory haste," including Congress'' recent repeal of OSHA''s ergonomics standard through the Congressional Review Act.

"The Congressional Review Act is a useful tool to address these problems, but it is one of many tools available to Congress," said Whitenton. "In the meantime, we applaud you for attempting to remind our Executive Branch enforcement agents of their obligation to undertake their responsibilities with care while employing a decent respect for fairness in the use of their power over the people who make things in America and the companies that employ them."

Whitenton told the committee that NAM is determined to work with the White House and Congress to guarantee that the overall climate for rulemaking is improved.

"We all must redouble our efforts to ensure that agencies do not regulate in the dark," said Whitenton.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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