Obama moves to undo last-minute rule changes

The Guardian, January 22, 2009

By Suzanne Goldenberg

Barack Obama has moved swiftly to freeze a number of regulations introduced during George Bush’s last days in office that strip away protection for workers and the environment.

The memo from the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, called on federal agencies and departments to put a stop on newly issued rules that have yet to come into effect, pending a “legal and policy review” by the incoming administration.

However, the majority of the so-called “midnight regulations” – such as diluting the powers of the endangered species act and relaxing the rules for mountain-top coal mining – have already come into effect and cannot easily be undone.

Noah Greenwald of the Centre for Biological Diversity welcomed the move but warned: “The majority of regulations threatening our environment, health and economy, however, will need to be undone by Congress, the courts or new rule-making.”

“Midnight regulations” have become something of a tradition for incoming presidents ever since Ronald Reagan started the practice. In 2001 Bush ordered his chief of staff, Andrew Card, to halt a host of last-minute rule changes from Bill Clinton’s administration.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Russell said,

    This is great news and suggests the new President really is for change. Here’s hoping …

    A bit cheeky I know, wondered if you might agree to contribute a comment on my post below about 0% Gross Domestic/National Product, business and the environment. It’s set to go wider.


    Many thanks and all the best.

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