The Hill reported Friday that lobbyists met with officials at the Office of Management and Budget to discuss altering proposed environmental regulations on a greenhouse gas registry and an ethanol production mandate.
Representatives from Chevron, BP America, Shell and the American Petroleum Institute attended meetings held by the OMB, beginning in August, to discuss a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule that would require companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. No environmentalist groups were present at the meeting.
Five of those meetings occurred in a two-day span just a week before the rules were finalized on Sept. 22, according to The Hill.
"It demonstrates that this is a very important rule when you see lobbyists for the biggest oil companies lining up at the White House trying to massage the final rule," said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.
OMB officials said the agency was following an executive order that requires the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs -- a division within the OMB that signs off on every rule coming out of the federal government -- to meet with "anyone who asks and who is also likely to be regulated under a proposed regulation."
The OMB has criticized by environmental groups for instructing the EPA to use existing toxicity data rather than require companies to conduct tests to determine if chemicals and pesticides can hurt humans,reports the New York Times.
CropLife America, a pesticide industry group, had petitioned the EPA this year out of concern that "unnecessary and redundant testing" could occur if the agency doesn't review data already submitted by pesticide registrants.
The OMB issued a directive that the additional testing was unnecessary, much to the ire of environmentalists.
"This is really short-sighted of OMB, and it indicated to me they don't understand the science or the toxicology," said Peter deFur, an environmental scientist.
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