President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.
In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.
Unsurprisingly, the primary targets are the EPA and OSHA. Even less surprising is that the oil industry is foremost among those that would benefit from regulatory relaxation in the environmental and worker safety arenas.
What additional power grabs lie in the next two years? We are all a-twitter.