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Author Topic: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer  (Read 980 times)

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Offline The OverlordTopic starter

King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« on: November 21, 2008, 08:47:34 PM »

So nice to see Georgey is keeping up the good work to the very end. I still have no positive proof that the soul exists, but I do have my proof that not everyone is born with one.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20081121/pl_ynews/ynews_pl158


Quote
With just 60 days left in his tenure, you might think that W.'s lame-duck administration was sitting around relieved that another guy was taking over, and Bush was counting the minutes until his flight leaves for Crawford. 

Not quite.

Based on the flurry of quiet directives coming from the White House as the end of the term nears, it looks like the Bush goose (or is it turducken?) isn't quite cooked yet.

In what has become a kind of presidential right-of-passage, the president (or really, the federal agencies that answer to him) has been pushing through a series of last-minute regulations that have the force of law. Everything from pollution controls to family-leave standards can be set by these rules.

And you thought your high school government teacher said that Congress made all the laws.

These de-facto laws are called "midnight rules" or "midnight regulations" because they happen at the end -- or midnight period -- of an administration.  If the rules are published in the Federal Register by Friday, Nov. 21, they'll be very hard for President-elect Obama to reverse when he gets into office.

And that's the point. Sure, the administration had eight years to get a lot of this stuff accomplished. But according to senior research fellow at George Mason University, Veronique de Rugy, most midnight regulations "cater to special interests" and "that is why they are hurried into effect without the usual checks and balances."

George Bush isn't the first president to push through rules before the next guy can get in. Jimmy Carter gets that award. In fact, the New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert says Carter's whirlwind of last-minute activity before Ronald Reagan took office is when the practice got named. "They became known as 'midnight regulations,' after the 'midnight judges' appointed by John Adams in the final hours of his presidency."

George Bush doesn't get the award for the most rules shoved through after the two-minute warning either. That goes to Bill Clinton who, according to de Rugy, set the record for number of last-minute pages published in the Federal Register at "more than 26,000."

So, what rules are the White House and all its federal agencies trying to get through this season?

The Wall Street Journal reports that the new rules, "open the way for commercial development of oil shale on federal land, allow truckers to drive for longer periods, and add certain restrictions on employee time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act."

Those run the gamut, but the ones getting the most press are environmentally focused. The Los Angeles Times says environmentalists are angry by a host of loosened safeguards:


In recent days, the Bush administration announced new rules to speed oil shale development across 2 million rocky acres in the West. It scheduled an auction for drilling rights alongside three national parks. It has also set in motion processes to finalize major changes in endangered species protection, allow more mining waste to flow into rivers and streams, and exempt factory farms from air pollution reporting.

The Chicago Tribune did a special report saying the administration undercut a clean-air rule aimed at curbing childhood lead poisoning:


...the EPA had planned to require lead monitors next to any factory emitting at least a half-ton of lead a year. But after the White House intervened, the agency raised the threshold to a ton of lead or more, according to e-mails and other documents exchanged between the EPA and the Office of Management and Budget.

In an Oct. 31 press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto was asked about environmental groups saying the White House was easing limits on pollution. First Fratto responded that the White House is "constrained" about discussing regulations under review, but then said, "I would be highly doubtful that there's any specific increase in environmental-related regulations."

Navigating the rule-making process can be laborious for the non-wonk type, but the non-profit, investigative journalism group ProPublica has tried to make it easy for people who want to investigate for themselves. ProPublica has a master list of Bush's midnight regulations here, and the group posted a guide on "How to Ferret Out Midnight Regs Yourself." If you've got the time and inclination, a lot of this process is public record and online.


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Re: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2008, 11:46:28 AM »
What else did you expect? I noticed that you didn't highlight the part that talked about how Clinton also did it ...

... or how it's quite possibly reversible: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15530.html

Quote
Congressional Democrats are eyeing a little-known, Clinton-era law as a way to reverse Bush administration midnight regulations — even ones that have already taken effect.

It’s a move that would undermine the White House’s attempt to finalize its energy and environmental regulations by November so that Barack Obama couldn’t undo them after he’s sworn in as the 44th president on Jan. 20.

“Fortunately, [the White House] made a mistake,” said a top Senate Democratic aide.

Last May, White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten instructed federal agency heads to make sure any new regulations were finalized by Nov. 1. The memo didn’t spell it out, but the thinking behind the directive was obvious. As Myron Ebell of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute put it: “We’re not going to make the same mistakes the Clinton administration did.”

President Bill Clinton finalized regulations within 60 days of the 2001 inauguration, meaning Bush could come in and easily reverse them.

It could take Obama years to undo climate rules finalized more than 60 days before he takes office — the advantage the White House sought by getting them done by Nov. 1. But that strategy doesn’t account for the Congressional Review Act of 1996.

The law contains a clause determining that any regulation finalized within 60 legislative days of congressional adjournment is considered to have been legally finalized on the 15th legislative day of the new Congress, likely sometime in February. Congress then has 60 days to review it and reverse it with a joint resolution that can’t be filibustered in the Senate.

In other words, any regulation finalized in the last half-year of the Bush administration could be wiped out with a simple party-line vote in the Democrat-controlled Congress.

A senior aide on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), was familiar with the CRA, acknowledging that it is an option the committee is considering.

House Global Warming Committee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is also looking at it. “On egregious rule-makings that would have a detrimental effect on energy and environmental policy, [the CRA] speeds up the process for rescinding the bad rule,” said Markey spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder. “It’s something Markey is seriously looking into.”

Congress last used the CRA in 2001 to overturn a Clinton administration rule that set new requirements for ergonomic work spaces.

Targets of the CRA may include a rule to allow federal agencies to determine on their own whether their policies will threaten endangered species, rather than requiring them to go through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approval. Regulations opening land in the West to oil shale development and mountaintop removal could also be on the block.

“We are not rushing regulations through at the last minute. We are simply continuing our responsibility of governing until the end of the president’s term,” said White House spokesman Carlton Carroll.

“As for the Congressional Review Act,” he said, “Congress has tools they can use now to overturn regulations, just as they do at all other times, but that doesn’t discourage us from continuing our responsibility to govern.”

Aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that a decision has yet to be made regarding the strategy for dealing with Bush administration regulations.

Even though the CRA can’t be filibustered, legislative lifting is generally more difficult than executive action. “There’s a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we’ll see the president do that,” John Podesta, who is helping direct Obama’s transition team, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Jerry Brito, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, closely follows midnight regulations. He said he would advise the Obama administration to package all of the regulations it wants overturned into one large vehicle to be voted up or down.

“That would solve the collective-action problem, and it solves the pet-project problem. It would sort of limit special pleading,” he said, noting that each new regulation benefits someone specific who will fight hard to keep it. Lumping them together dissipates that energy.

The environmental lobby would cheer such a move. “It seems like everyone in the world wants to throw themselves in front of this bus,” said Sierra Club lobbyist Dave Hamilton, who added that the organization supports any attempt to derail the Bush rules. “You just [think], ‘Haven’t you done enough?’”

“If these rules are overturned, the benefits for the environment are potentially significant,” said Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy at OMB Watch, a liberal regulatory watchdog group.

The process could also mean bad news for some businesses, which were hoping that key rules might be beneficial.

“Congress has a historic opportunity to adopt a bipartisan, practical energy policy that would strengthen the security of the United States and its citizens,” said Karen Harbert, executive vice president with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

“At the end of the day,” she added, “lawmakers have a responsibility to lead the nation to a more secure energy future with a comprehensive, commonsense approach, rather than resorting to shortsighted, half-measures of the past.”

The new president could still overturn rules through the regulatory process, but those rules would be subject to new investigation and comment periods, which could take years to finish.

If Obama is able to overturn a sizable number of Bush’s midnight regulations, he would be the first president in recent memory to succeed at such an effort, Brito said.

Clinton managed to repeal 9 percent of President George H.W. Bush’s regulations and amend 48 percent of them. The rest remained in place.

President Bush managed to repeal only 3 percent of Clinton’s regulations and amend 15 percent, Brito said.

Though the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Ebell leans more toward President Bush’s more hands-off approach to regulation, he insists that he’s supportive of congressional review — since, under the Constitution, Congress is supposed to be the body that makes the laws.

“This might be the first time I’ve supported Ed Markey on anything,” he said.

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2008, 01:52:21 PM »

Oh they're all responsible to a degree, but this president has made a two-term career of raping and pillaging the environment, trying to undo decades of legislation put in place to protect lands for very good reasons, just to appease his oil-soaked cronies.

The man is a menace, his administration is the machine gone wrong and at its worst. Research what this guy's done in office and you'll understand why I have nothing but contempt for him.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2008, 02:02:21 PM »
Yes pushing Ethanol was an utterly stupid move.

And what threat to the environment I think Obama is going to run us deeper into national debt paying for his Energy Policy and carbon cap nonsense, if India and China re not going to go along with this scheme we shouldn't. Why risk our fragile economy sending more jobs overseas where other nations don't have this chain and ball around their ankles. We already over regulate business as it is in many areas. And the areas they should like preventing fraud in financial markets they ignore a role they had a right to oversee even banning these questionable trash mortgage investment packaged and "swaps". There I can blame both parties.


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Re: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2008, 02:20:15 PM »
Oh they're all responsible to a degree, but this president has made a two-term career of raping and pillaging the environment, trying to undo decades of legislation put in place to protect lands for very good reasons, just to appease his oil-soaked cronies.

The man is a menace, his administration is the machine gone wrong and at its worst. Research what this guy's done in office and you'll understand why I have nothing but contempt for him.


I'm not exactly lobbying for the Fairness Act, here, but he's not doing anything especially sinister. He's out. He's done. Let it go and focus on being irritated with the new administration. :P

Offline Zakharra

Re: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2008, 02:37:07 PM »
I'm not exactly lobbying for the Fairness Act, here, but he's not doing anything especially sinister. He's out. He's done. Let it go and focus on being irritated with the new administration. :P

 +1

 The Fairness Act is bad though. (If it is the Act that deals with radio)

Offline Trieste

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Re: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2008, 02:43:24 PM »
Without getting too much into the Fairness Act thing, I think it's an infringement on free speech and another case of governmental babysitting that shouldn't be there. I am not a libertarian; I think that some government is a good thing (and not just to protect my property from the undue violence of others) but the Fairness Act brings it far, far too far.

On the other hand, the FCC sort of has a point; it's their airwaves and they can police them. Bad for Howard Stern. Good for liberal talk-radio (wtf?). But that was just to answer you, Z - if you want to discuss it, feel free to make another thread. :)

Offline Zakharra

Re: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2008, 02:59:44 PM »
Without getting too much into the Fairness Act thing, I think it's an infringement on free speech and another case of governmental babysitting that shouldn't be there. I am not a libertarian; I think that some government is a good thing (and not just to protect my property from the undue violence of others) but the Fairness Act brings it far, far too far.

On the other hand, the FCC sort of has a point; it's their airwaves and they can police them. Bad for Howard Stern. Good for liberal talk-radio (wtf?). But that was just to answer you, Z - if you want to discuss it, feel free to make another thread. :)

  Sure. I've heard some about it and it's not been good. Definitely a curbing of Free Speech

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: King George II: Environmental terrorist and killer
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2008, 06:35:22 PM »


Radio waves belong to nobody; the FCC only polices them because they have the resources to do so. In some ways I'd like to see a private group broadcast from international waters or a private island and send a counter-signal to the Voice of America, just to show them they're not the ultimate authority. (Wiki that reference if you're not familiar with it).