View Full Version : Some History On Deregulation

Gayle in MD
05-27-2010, 07:56 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">A Last Push To Deregulate
White House to Ease Many Rules
Washington Post Staff Writer
<span style='font-size: 20pt'>Friday, October 31, 2008 </span>

The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January.

The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms.

Those and other regulations would help clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining.

Once such rules take effect, they typically can be undone only through a laborious new regulatory proceeding, including lengthy periods of public comment, drafting and mandated reanalysis.

"They want these rules to continue to have an impact long after they leave office," said Matthew Madia, a regulatory expert at OMB Watch, a nonprofit group critical of what it calls the Bush administration's penchant for deregulating in areas where industry wants more freedom. He called the coming deluge "a last-minute assault on the public . . . happening on multiple fronts."

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said: "This administration has taken extraordinary measures to avoid rushing regulations at the end of the term. And yes, we'd prefer our regulations stand for a very long time -- they're well reasoned and are being considered with the best interests of the nation in mind."

As many as 90 new regulations are in the works, and at least nine of them are considered "economically significant" because they impose costs or promote societal benefits that exceed $100 million annually. They include new rules governing employees who take family- and medical-related leaves, new standards for preventing or containing oil spills, and a simplified process for settling real estate transactions.

While it remains unclear how much the administration will be able to accomplish in the coming weeks, the last-minute rush appears to involve fewer regulations than Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, approved at the end of his tenure.

In some cases, Bush's regulations reflect new interpretations of language in federal laws. In other cases, such as several new counterterrorism initiatives, they reflect new executive branch decisions in areas where Congress -- now out of session and focused on the elections -- left the president considerable discretion.

The burst of activity has made this a busy period for lobbyists who fear that industry views will hold less sway after the elections. The doors at the New Executive Office Building have been whirling with corporate officials and advisers pleading for relief or, in many cases, for hastened decision making.

According to the Office of Management and Budget's regulatory calendar, the commercial scallop-fishing industry came in two weeks ago to urge that proposed catch limits be eased, nearly bumping into National Mining Association officials making the case for easing rules meant to keep coal slurry waste out of Appalachian streams. A few days earlier, lawyers for kidney dialysis and biotechnology companies registered their complaints at the OMB about new Medicare reimbursement rules. Lobbyists for customs brokers complained about proposed counterterrorism rules that require the advance reporting of shipping data.

Bush's aides are acutely aware of the political risks of completing their regulatory work too late. On the afternoon of Bush's inauguration, Jan. 20, 2001, his chief of staff issued a government-wide memo that blocked the completion or implementation of regulations drafted in the waning days of the Clinton administration that had not yet taken legal effect.

Page 2 of 2 &lt; Back

A Last Push To Deregulate

"Through the end of the Clinton administration, we were working like crazy to get as many regulations out as possible," said Donald R. Arbuckle, who retired in 2006 after 25 years as an OMB official. "Then on Sunday, the day after the inauguration, OMB Director Mitch Daniels called me in and said, 'Let's pull back as many of these as we can.' "

Clinton's appointees wound up paying a heavy price for procrastination. Bush's team was able to withdraw 254 regulations that covered such matters as drug and airline safety, immigration and indoor air pollutants. After further review, many of the proposals were modified to reflect Republican policy ideals or scrapped altogether.

Seeking to avoid falling victim to such partisan tactics, White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten in May imposed a Nov. 1 government-wide deadline to finish major new regulations, "except in extraordinary circumstances."

That gives officials just a few more weeks to meet an effective Nov. 20 deadline for the publication of economically significant rules, which take legal effect only after a 60-day congressional comment period. Less important rules take effect after a 30-day period, creating a second deadline of Dec. 20.

OMB spokeswoman Jane Lee said that Bolten's memo was meant to emphasize the importance of "due diligence" in ensuring that late-term regulations are sound. "We will continue to embrace the thorough and high standards of the regulatory review process," she said.

As the deadlines near, the administration has begun to issue regulations of great interest to industry, including, in recent days, a rule that allows natural gas pipelines to operate at higher pressures and new Homeland Security rules that shift passenger security screening responsibilities from airlines to the federal government. The OMB also approved a new limit on airborne emissions of lead this month, acting under a court-imposed deadline.

Many of the rules that could be issued over the next few weeks would ease environmental regulations, according to sources familiar with administration deliberations.

A rule put forward by the National Marine Fisheries Service and now under final review by the OMB would lift a requirement that environmental impact statements be prepared for certain fisheries-management decisions and would give review authority to regional councils dominated by commercial and recreational fishing interests.

An Alaska commercial fishing source, granted anonymity so he could speak candidly about private conversations, said that senior administration officials promised to "get the rule done by the end of this month" and that the outcome would be a big improvement.

Lee Crockett of the Pew Charitable Trusts' Environment Group said the administration has received 194,000 public comments on the rule and protests from 80 members of Congress as well as 160 conservation groups. "This thing is fatally flawed" as well as "wildly unpopular," Crockett said.

Two other rules nearing completion would ease limits on pollution from power plants, a major energy industry goal for the past eight years that is strenuously opposed by Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups.

One rule, being pursued over some opposition within the Environmental Protection Agency, would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases. According to the EPA's estimate, it would allow millions of tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, worsening global warming.

A related regulation would ease limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants near national parks.

A third rule would allow increased emissions from oil refineries, chemical factories and other industrial plants with complex manufacturing operations.

These rules "will force Americans to choke on dirtier air for years to come, unless Congress or the new administration reverses these eleventh-hour abuses," said lawyer John Walke of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But Scott H. Segal, a Washington lawyer and chief spokesman for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, said that "bringing common sense to the Clean Air Act is the best way to enhance energy efficiency and pollution control." He said he is optimistic that the new rule will help keep citizens' lawsuits from obstructing new technologies.

Jonathan Shradar, an EPA spokesman, said that he could not discuss specifics but added that "we strive to protect human health and the environment." Any rule the agency completes, he said, "is more stringent than the previous one."


Some Interesting facts:

Alternative Energy Sources are Slowly Becoming More Attractive
Everything from renewable sources such as solar and wind to newer technologies such as cleaner-burning coal and hybrid and fuel cells are expected to steal some of oil's share of the worldwide energy market in the future.[5] The only question is by how much. As concern over global warming and energy independence fuels investment into alternative energies, and as that investment makes alternative energy cheaper and more efficient, deepwater will be hurt. At the same time, deepwater E&P is a growing field where economies of scale and increasing technological innovation have the potential to bring down the cost of finding reserves, and of manufacturing and operating rigs.

One of the largest disruptors in the renewable energy industry is the government. Legislative support for clean energy investment in the form of tax breaks, subsidies, and energy mandates has driven growth in the sector over the past few years. Because most renewables aren't as cost-efficient as traditional fossil fuels, such government support is necessary to make clean energy appealing.

In January 2009, President-elect Barack Obama called for the U.S. to double its use of renewable energy by 2012, as part of his plan to stimulate the economy and pull the country out of recession. His plan, which is expected to include up to $800 billion over two years in subsidies and tax cuts for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric grid modernization projects, has the potential to pull the industry out of the slump caused by the 2008 Financial Crisis.[77]

Gayle in MD
05-27-2010, 08:26 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Bush approves offshore drilling to spur on Congress
by Chris Shunk (RSS feed) on Jul 15th 2008 at 8:07AM

There has been a US ban on offshore oil drilling for the past 27 years, and George Bush Sr. signed off on an executive order echoing the ban in 1990. Originally, the ban was agreed upon to protect the beaches and tourism economies of coastal towns, and now global warming has been added into the mix.

With one stroke of the mighty pen, George Jr. has undone his father's order by lifting the ban on offshore drilling, but the move means nothing unless Congress also lifts its separate ban. The Bush Administration is trying to put pressure on Congress to throw out its ban, but so far the Democrat-controlled Congress isn't budging. Sen. Barbara Boxer called the move "something you'd expect from an oil company CEO, not the president of the United States."

President Bush has made no bones about his desire to drill for the billions of barrels of oil believed to be hidden beneath our coastlines, and with gas prices at $4.25 per gallon, much of America is on his side. The price of gas is now right up there with the war in Iraq and the economy as the top concern of Americans, so the Congress could be in a similar spot as the Republican controlled Congress was when it backed the Iraq war back in 2006. Many non-coastal Americans are more concerned about being able to afford fuel than they are about terrific views off the coast of Maine or beaches in south Florida. Instead our environment will have to be the rationale for Congress to uphold the ban. Will the Congress bow to public and political pressure and allow drilling, or will they risk re-election and do the right thing for the environment? Only time will tell.

[Source: Detroit News]

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/se...n&ct=clnk&gl=us (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:DkhEvt-yrcsJ:green.autoblog.com/2008/07/15/bush-approves-offshore-drilling-to-spur-on-congress/+Who+Approved+Drilling+in+deep+water+offshore&cd=9&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republicans on Wednesday pressured congressional Democrats for a vote to lift a ban on offshore drilling before Congress begins its summer recess.

Americans "are counting on Congress to lift the ban" on offshore drilling, President Bush says.

The partisan fight over offshore drilling has stalled efforts to pass legislation meant to lower high gas prices before Congress adjourns for its monthlong break at the end of the week.

Most Republicans want to lift a 1981 ban on offshore drilling, saying it will increase domestic oil supplies. But the Democratic leadership wants to keep the ban in place, arguing that more offshore drilling will have little effect on prices and could threaten the environment.

Republicans also want to legalize drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and allow the processing of oil shale on public lands in the West -- two actions Democrats also oppose. Oil shale is sedimentary rock with oil in it that has historically been considered too expensive to process. Several environmental risks are associated with extracting oil shale. Follow the dueling positions on energy policy »

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Democrats must allow Republicans to offer amendments that would increase domestic oil production.

"Senate Republicans feel that we both need to find more and use less, and that in order to have ... a piece of legislation that actually passes the Senate, we need to have an open process," McConnell said.

After meeting with his Cabinet on Wednesday, President Bush also called on Democrats to schedule a vote before Congress begins its summer recess. Watch Bush pressure Congress for a vote »

Don't Miss
CNN/Money: Solving the energy crisis: You decide
iReport.com: Is more drilling the answer?
CNN/Money: Energy fix: What can be done?
Senate Democrats offer deal to break energy bill standstill
"American drivers are counting on Congress to lift the ban, and so are American workers," he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the president was perpetrating a "hoax" by pushing for more offshore oil drilling.

"The president has failed in his economic policy, and now he wants to say, 'but for drilling in protected areas offshore, our economy would be thriving and the price of gas would be lower,' " Pelosi said. "That hoax is unworthy of the serious debate we must have to relieve the pain of consumers at the pump and to promote energy independence."

Bush accused Democrats of blocking a vote on offshore drilling, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, had offered a proposal to Republicans that would allow a vote on a measure that would lift the drilling ban. Watch how the partisan fight has gridlocked Congress »

However, McConnell said Wednesday that Reid had rescinded that offer, which would have allowed Republicans to add up to four amendments to the energy bill being debated.

"In that case, we are going to have a hard time legislating on the No. 1 issue in country," McConnell said.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted this week suggests the public backs the Republican position on offshore oil drilling. But the poll also shows that the public is split over whether offshore drilling would result in lower gas prices in the next year.

More than two-thirds of Americans say they favor increasing drilling efforts off America's coasts, and 30 percent disapprove of such action. Meanwhile, 51 percent think increased drilling offshore would reduce gas prices, while 49 percent believe it wouldn't. The poll was conducted Sunday through Tuesday and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. How should Americans deal with the energy crisis?

Congressional Democrats said they have offered Republicans multiple opportunities to help lower gas prices, including a measure they brought to the Senate floor Wednesday that would extend tax credits to producers of solar, wind and other sources of renewable energy.

"We have heard Republicans expend a tremendous amount of words and energy talking about our national energy crisis. Today, Democrats offer them yet another chance to stop the talking and actually do something to solve the problem," Reid said.

The partisan fight in the Senate has also stalled debate on a bill that would attempt to curb increasing speculation in the oil futures market. Democrats say oil speculation is responsible for 20 to 50 percent of the spike in fuel prices.

House Democrats were unable to pass an oil speculation bill on Wednesday. The bill received a majority vote of 276-151, but the measure failed because it did not get the two-thirds majority required by House rules.

The White House said Wednesday the president would veto the oil speculation bill if it reached his desk. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission already has enough power to stop speculation, the White House said, and the bill would do nothing "to address the fundamentals of supply and demand that bear the primary responsibility for current high energy prices."

Congressional Democrats, including Pelosi, have also called for releasing a small amount of oil from U.S. reserves and putting more pressure on foreign oil cartels.

But Bush opposes releasing oil from reserves and said if Democrats want to tap into the reserves, they should also support measures that lift the drilling ban.

"If you agree that we need more oil, it makes no sense to say you're for draining our nation's limited strategic reserve but against tapping into the vast resources of the outer continental shelf," Bush said, arguing that offshore drilling could produce up to 18 million barrels of oil.


Democrats in US Congress vote to lift moratorium on offshore drilling in election year political shift
Part of: Oil

An offshore oil platform off the United States’ Gulf of Mexico coast. A recent and ironic Democratic election year push for offshore drilling could see a proliferation of such platforms off the country’s east and west coasts.
wikimedia commons
Related articles
Obama ramps up involvement in what observers say could be oil spill worse than Valdez
‘Hybrid’ US climate legislation likely to back track on some environmental promise to throw big bones to industry
US Energy Secretary says climate bill best bet for US climate leadership – but changes to legislation may come
Obama’ energy and environmental team departs from Bush policies, but prompts more conservative expectations
Obama presidential victory an historic occasion for the environment and human rights leadership
Election 2008 Special: Environmental figure heavy in East Coast voters minds as they cast ballots for Obama on election day
Booed in Bali, US chief climate negotiator to meet Bellona staff to prep for December’s UN climate conference
US presidential election: The environment at stake
Alaska Experiences Worst Oil Pipeline Leak In Its History, Final Damage Still Not Tallied
Alternative visions for a US climate policy
Lugar Introduces Flexible Fuel Vehicles Legislation to ease US demand on oil
US Senate approves drilling in Alaska´s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, House to vote this week
US Bipartisan forces set sights on changing Bush Administration climate change policies
US Republicans set to turn Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into oilfield
Bellona calls on petroleum industry to invest in future of CO2 capture and storage
The US House of Representatives passed Democratic-sponsored legislation Tuesday that would lift a longstanding ban long cherished by environmentalists within Democratic party on offshore oil drilling, opening most of the US coastline to exploration. Charles Digges, 17/09-2008 The House of Representatives, Congresses lower chamber, voted 236 to 189 in favor of the package, but the Democratic initiative may face a veto from the White House, news agencies reported.

The package proposed by Democrats would give states the option to allow drilling between 80 and 160 kilometers off their shores. Areas more than 160 kilometers from the coast would be completely open to oil exploration and drilling, Reuters reported.

The flip-flop represents a swift change in policy for the Democratic Party, which has routinely opposed lifting the offshore drilling moratorium for environmental reasons.

For their part, the Republicans pushed in this election season for offshore drilling, and much of the current presidential race has featured salvos from Republican hopeful John McCain’s camp that Democratic contender Barack Obama’s opposition to offshore drilling neglects the US need for energy independence.

In July 2008, President George Bush lifted the ban on offshore drilling that was put in place by the presidency of his father, George Herbert Walker Bush. The ban was imposed by the elder Bush in exchange for drilling rights for big oil in he oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

As of today, the 1981 ban on offshore drilling in the US still remains in effect, making Bush the Junior’s unilateral lifting of the ban purely symbolic. But house Democrats have beat Bush to the punch to craft legislation fulfilling his wish.

The Democratic majority in Congress, therefore, seems to be taking the heat for the decision to keep or lift the ban off their candidate by bowing to the Realpolitik of eschewing environmental concerns in favor of gaining better footing on the road to the White House that ends in November.

Environmentalists, however, can still find solace in the Obama ticket for Obama’s personal opposition to offshore drilling, as well as his prospective administration’s staunch opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, its general opposition to more nuclear power in the United States, and its open embrace of joining the world community in supporting technological and legislative initiatives aimed at curbing climate change.

Senate still to approve offshore drilling
Later this week, the Senate, Congress’s upper chamber, is expected to take up energy legislation that would expand offshore drilling, but not as much as the House, Reuters said.

Both chambers would have to reconcile differences between their bills before a final energy package could be sent to the White House to be signed into law. Time is running out for lawmakers to pass legislation as Congress is scheduled to adjourn on September 26th.

Democrats and Republicans change election year stripes
Until recently, Democratic leaders in Congress strongly opposed lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling, saying drilling would have only a small impact on gasoline prices in the immediate future.

But as gasoline prices shot to levels above $4 a gallon this summer, public opinion shifted in favor of offshore drilling. Republicans made removing offshore drilling moratorium a key campaign issue for their party in this election year – but Republican President George Bush may flush the initiative for partisan reasons amid a tight battle for the White House.

Bush administration derides its own long-cherished goals
The Bush Administration has called the Democratic initiative a “sham” and a “hoax,” news agencies said.

"At a time when American families are in need of genuine relief from the effects of high fuel prices, this bill purports to open access to American energy sources while in reality taking actions to stifle development," the White House said in a statement.

With the moratorium against offshore drilling facing expiration on September 30th, and voter sentiment changing, Democrats supported repealing the ban as part of a larger energy package, said Reuters.

Pork may put oil drilling over a barrel
Republican opponents of the bill complain the bill does not include a revenue sharing plan, and states will not have financial incentive to open their coasts to exploration. The Republican Party, which usually steers clear of states’ affairs, is clearly seeking more pork for, and trying to curry the favor, for Republican governors of many coastal states with oil rich shelves.

Another Republican complaint is that the requirement that drilling occur at least 80 kilometers away from the US coast closes a great deal of the outer continental shelf where oil may be located, said Rueters.

Democrats countered that their package would open 319 million acres to 404 million acres off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to drilling.

"This legislation is a result of reasonable compromise that will put us on a path to energy independence by expanding domestic supply," Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quoted by Reuters as saying.

<span style="color: #000066">After this, Democratics should have learned, never compromise with Republicans On Their F-ed UP Policies! </span>

Gayle in MD
05-27-2010, 08:38 AM
<span style="color: #000066">I would say that it should be clear, and unprotested, that the Republican Party, since W. Invaded the White House, has pushed for deep water, drilling, AND more offshores drilling.

In fact, W. Bush pushed through loads of attacks on environement laws, removing a great deal of protection of the environment, and our citizens.

McCain's campaign consistantly was critical of this president's policies, often sighting higher costs for consumers if we did not elect the oil friendly, mavericks, Palin and McCain....

That anyoone would suggest that Republicans have not been right in the pockets of Big Oil for over a decade, is truly folly.

Palin's lies, recently about President Obama, were too absurd for words.

I can only hope, that the idiot Govenor in Virginia wakes up about drilling offshore of Virginia.

I am greatly relieved that this President, has taken any new contracts for offshore drilling, off the table, for further review.

Obviously, if we had Republicans in there right now, we'd be lucky to be getting any information about this disaster, at all.