Advocacy group evaluates Obama's rulemaking effort

September 30, 2010

President Barack Obama has appointed well-qualified people to lead regulatory agencies but has not done enough to reform the rulemaking process, concludes a recent report from the Washington-based advocacy group OMB Watch.

The Obama Approach to Public Protection: Rulemaking (.pdf file) examines the Obama administration's action on environmental, worker health and safety, and consumer health and safety issues.

Calling OSHA's rulemaking record "underwhelming," OMB Watch questioned whether the agency's lack of progress is the result of past neglect. The report noted the Obama administration has boosted funding requests for OSHA rulemaking activities. Although the agency scored a major achievement with the new cranes and derricks rule in July, OSHA has yet to finish standards on crystalline silica and beryllium, which have been in the works since the 1990s.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has not proposed any significant new regulations, but has finished three that originated during the Bush administration, the report said.

OMB Watch noted Obama's proposed freeze on federal discretionary spending also could reduce agency resources and delay rulemaking.