Archive for November, 2008

Midnight rules – Bush “Burrowing” in bureaucracy

November 22nd, 2008 2 comments

“Midnight Rules” to Rollback Environmental Protections

[Update: 12/5/08 – Star Ledger editors agree. See: Bush’s unwelcome last-minute legacy
Sometimes it is sickening to say “I told you so”. This is one of those moments.
Back in May, I warned:
“Reforming the Executive Branch, including weeding out pro-industry political appointees (hacks) and undoing all the regulatory damage of the Bush regime will be an enormous challenge of the next administration.”
But I didn’t quite realize just how cynical and bold the Bushies would be.
According to the Washington Post,
Administration Moves to Protect Key Appointees
Political Positions Shifted To Career Civil Service Jobs

By Juliet Eilperin and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, November 18, 2008; Page A01

“Just weeks before leaving office, the Interior Department’s top lawyer has shifted half a dozen key deputies — including two former political appointees who have been involved in controversial environmental decisions — into senior civil service posts.
The transfer of political appointees into permanent federal positions, called “burrowing” by career officials, creates security for those employees, and at least initially will deprive the incoming Obama administration of the chance to install its preferred appointees in some key jobs.”

The Bush move to undermine the Obama Administration from within was caught by envrionmentalists, who blasted it:
“But environmental advocates, and some rank-and-file Interior officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of hurting their careers, said the reassignments represent the Bush administration’s effort to leave a lasting imprint on environmental policy.
“What’s clear is they could have done this during the eight years they were in office. Why are they doing it now?” said Robert Irvin, senior vice president for conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife, an advocacy group. “It’s pretty obvious they’re trying to leave in place some of their loyal foot soldiers in their efforts to reduce environmental protection.”

Back in May, I also wrote about what are now termed “Midnight Rules” – desperate last minute efforts by the Bush Administration to ram through pro-industry rollbacks of envrionmental laws.
Again, according to the Washington Post:
A Last Push To Deregulate
White House to Ease Many Rules

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 31, 2008; Page A01
“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.”
Calling Obama Administration and Democratic Congress: Car 54 where are you?
For additional information and detailed inventory of the rules involved, see:

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November 2nd, 2008 5 comments

This one’s for Blarneyboy, who today asked for some pictures of mother nature. To paraphrase Jerry Garcia in “Us Blues” see:
“Indian Summer time done come and gone, my oh my!”

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