Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good news everybody

An important follow up Michael's post on George W. Bush's Last Environmental Stand. I came across this article on the Politico website and it turns out that President-elect Obama may have a much easier job than anticipated in overturning the numerous Bush administration regulations that have recently been implemented. Many of these regulations significantly weakened environmental protections - for example by allowing 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.

It could take Obama years to undo ... 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.

“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.

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