The day after Barack Obama’s inauguration, the new administration ordered a stop to all pending regulations pushed through in the waning days of the Bush administration. In a publicly released memo, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said that the White House will carry out its own legal and policy reviews on the specific rules before making a final decision on them. Some of the new Bush rules that will likely never see the light of day include proposals to eliminate protection for threatened gray wolves in the northern Rockies, to weaken the Endangered Species Act, to allow mining companies to dump their waste within sensitive riparian zones and to exempt large-scale factory farms from notifying government officials when they release unsafe levels of toxic emissions into surrounding communities.
Despite Obama’s success in stopping these rules from going into effect, many other so-called “midnight regulations” have already become law. “While we are pleased that the new administration has put a stop to these hasty actions, there are some rules we continue to monitor,” said Patti Goldman of the nonprofit Earthjustice. The group is working with a diverse coalition of environmental groups in launching challenges in federal court to other eleventh-hour rule changes beyond the reach of the new administration.This story first appeared in E/The Environmental Magazine on January 25, 2009.http://www.emagazine.com/view/?4538