Two pending cases could result in big cuts to agency powers
Three weeks from today, the Supreme Court starts its 2023 Term. There are two blockbuster cases on the docket. In one case, the issue is whether to overrule the Chevron case, which has been foundational to administrative law for the past four decades. In the other, the issue is agency power to sanction violations of …CONTINUE READING
We have a White House climate czar. That’s not going to be enough.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) creates a massive funding program for clean energy and other climate policies. This funding complements regulatory efforts at EPA elsewhere. Yet authority over energy policy is fragmented at the federal level. Without better coordination, there’s a risk that various policies will mesh poorly or operate at cross-purposes. And state governments, …CONTINUE READING
OIRA oversees the whole regulatory state. We probably know more about the inner workings of the CIA.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) oversees government regulation across the federal government. Some portray it as a guardian of rationality, others as biased in favor of industry. Public information about OIRA is so limited that it’s impossible to know one way or the other, due to the veil of secrecy that surrounds …CONTINUE READING
Today’s ruling are (somewhat) good news in terms of West Virginia v. EPA?
Today, the Court’s conservative Justices split the difference in two cases involving vaccine mandates, striking down OSHA’s mandate but upholding a more limited mandate for healthcare workers. The cases also split the conservative Justices themselves, with three hardliners (Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch) seeking a more activist ruling in the OSHA case and dissenting in the …CONTINUE READING
Lives can be lost when agencies fall down on the job.
What happens when agencies fail in their jobs? People can die. The most dramatic example is the opioid crisis, in which a whole series of state and federal agencies fell short. The result has been hundreds of thousands of deaths. The FDA was one of the prime culprits. It bought into a myth, carefully cultivated …CONTINUE READING
The courts have failed to enforce a core requirement of NEPA. That leaves the White House.
The Democrats have adopted an ambitious platform for environmental protection, full of innovative legislative initiatives. Here’s another idea Biden and Harris should consider, making use of the oldest of the modern environmental statutes. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is best known for requiring environmental impact statements. While they have enforced that requirement, the courts …CONTINUE READING
A new Issue Brief provides practical proposals on how to improve regulation.
For over three decades, “regulatory reform” has been an aspiration chiefly for opponents of regulation. Everyone agrees that regulation could be improved. But too many proposals for change are designed to undercut protection of the environment, public health, and civil rights. What would regulatory reform look like if you actually want to improve regulation rather …CONTINUE READING
His Amtrak dissent would wipe out most regulations of the last 40 years.
It didn’t get much attention, but Justice Thomas’s dissent two weeks ago in the Amtrak case was extraordinarily radical, even for him. The case involved a relatively obscure issue about the legal status of Amtrak. Justice Thomas used the occasion for a frontal attack on administrative law, including most of environmental law.. The heart of …CONTINUE READING
Bureaucrats aren’t very popular. But consider the alternatives when it comes to dealing with environmental problems. Basically, bureaucrats are part of the executive branch of government. For instance, the head of EPA is appointed by the President and can be removed by the President at any time. (A few agencies such as the SEC enjoy …CONTINUE READING
I’ve been reading a lengthy history of the FDA by Harvard political scientist Dan Carpenter. I’m planning to post later about some his observations regarding the political dynamics of drug regulation. But I was also struck by the implications of his description of drug regulation with regard to preemption of state torts claims. At first …CONTINUE READING