Now that the Continuing Resolution has passed and the can has been successfully kicked down the road a bit, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) are set to continue to implement their regulatory agenda’s. But have you ever really stopped and thought about how we get regulations in the first place. If you are the product of the seventies – you might remember “School House Rock” – “I am only a Bill on Capitol Hill”. Regulations are essentially standard operating procedures to implement the laws which resulted from a bill introduced in either the House or the Senate, which passed through a conference committee and was not vetoed. (If the President agreed with it and really liked it – there may have been a signing ceremony and much hoopla.)
Thus, the executive branch through the various federal agencies draft regulations which implement the laws. Hence, there is an opportunity to tweak, modify and prioritize various aspects of the law to make it easier to comply or enforce. But, as with everything the Devil is in the details.
This blog over the next couple of days will look at a couple of case studies – one based on the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) and the other on the Clean Air Act (CAA) with its associated Amendments. In these case studies, implications of proposed changes via either Congressional action in the underlying law or a unilateral regulatory change based upon new technology or court rulings will be examined. In either case there are unanticipated consequences associated with the changes. Some of which may not be evident until the rules are in place and those impacted by the rules have to live under them.
These case studies will not debate underlying politics of the change – i.e. is it good or bad. Nor, is it intended to pass judgment on whether or not a change is needed. The purpose of these case studies is to give both the regulators and those regulated pause to think about how these changes may impact other aspects of the environment and the economy, i.e. the potential trickle down impacts.
Join me tomorrow for a case study in TSCA