Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last minute chaos from Bush

Taking a page from Bill Maher’s “new rules” bit, Bush has decided to make the Obama administration spin its wheels for sometime to come with regulations so irresponsible, it would be hard for any normal human being not to be appalled. If Democrats were smart, they would summarize the following list into a talking point and marketing plan to forever keep the Republican Party back on its heels. According to the Washington Post:

In a burst of activity meant to leave a lasting stamp on the federal government, the Bush White House in the past month has approved 61 new regulations … will have an economic impact exceeding $1.9 billion annually.

A new rule would ease constraints on environmentally damaging oil shale development throughout the West.

Regulation inhibiting the ability of Congress to halt logging, mining, and oil and gas extraction on public lands.

The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys.

Another rule would allow federal agencies to proceed with development projects without undergoing independent scientific review under the Endangered Species Act.

A new Health and Human Services rule cuts an estimated $2 billion in state Medicaid reimbursements for outpatient services. State officials had complained that it would jeopardize dental care for children, certain lab tests and speech and occupational therapy.

A controversial Justice Department rule approved Nov. 19 orders accelerated judicial review for death sentences. Legal groups had argued that speeding up executions makes errors more likely.

L.A. Times-
A broad new "right of conscience" rule permitting medical facilities, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers to refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable, including abortion and possibly even artificial insemination and birth control. The new rule would go further by making clear that healthcare workers also may refuse to provide information or advice to patients who might want an abortionin addition to a surgeon and a nurse in an operating room, the rule would extend to an employee whose task it is to clean the instruments. It will protect doctors who do not wish to prescribe birth control or to provide artificial insemination. Critics of the rule say it will sacrifice patients' health to the religious beliefs of providers.

New Source Review changes. The rule would change the Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Review program, which requires new facilities or renovating facilities to install better pollution-control technology, by making fewer facilities subject to its requirements.

NY TImes-Factory farms could let their runoff pollute waterways without a permit. (The rule circumvents the Clean Water Act, allowing for self-regulation.)

Another rule would exempt factory farms from reporting air pollution emissions from animal waste.

A new rule that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job. The rule…has strong support from business groups.

Rules that didn’t make it (but the intent was there): ordered the Energy Department to kill new regulations that would have forced the federal government to buy more-energy-efficient lights, appliances, and heating and cooling systems.

The White House also ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a new regulation mandating that truck manufacturers install equipment to monitor vehicle pollution.

It blocked the Department of Veterans Affairs from issuing new promised "user-friendly" guidance on burial and survivors benefits.

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