Obama Administration Fast Tracks Environmental Regulations

Sunday, 18 May 2014 02:47 PM

By Elliot Jager

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The Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency is making a concerted effort to implement environmental rules passed by Congress, The Hill reported. The process involves crafting regulatory language to give practical meaning to the statutes.

The administration has about 977 days remaining to enact its regulatory agenda. Daniel Weiss, of the liberal Center for American Progress, said that with comparatively little time left the administration was moving "vigorously."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works agrees. "I think they're really moving, and I think the president himself is very committed to moving, because climate change is happening all around us."

The EPA is writing regulatory language that addresses the administration's concerns about global warming. These rules cover air pollution limits for power plants, oil refineries, solid waste dumps, and fracking, according to The Hill.

The president intends to announce the new rules on June 2 though at this point even the administration does not know how far-reaching they will be, according to New York Magazine.

The scope and pace of the administration's activity has some lawmakers concerned. Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who is running for re-election said, "I recognize that EPA has to do this, but I think EPA is sometimes stretching the limit too far in how aggressive they've been moving."

"They have gone way beyond the original intent of the Clean Air Act [and] the Clean Water Act," said Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso. "They continue to try to force upon the American public things that President Obama could not accomplish legislatively. So I think they are exceeding their authority."

Weiss and other administration backers say that claims the administration is overreaching are not borne out by recent federal court rulings.

One possible indicator of how swiftly the administration is moving has been the 30 meetings held in the past six weeks between the White House Office of Management and Budget and EPA about the new regulations.

Another is that senior presidential adviser John Podesta, a former official at the Center for American Progress and an ex-White House chief of staff, is shepherding the president's climate priorities through the bureaucracy, The Hill reported.

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