Welcome to "The Watchdog," which will keep a close eye on regulatory agencies and how their actions impact the lives of everyday Americans. Though the rules and regulations they write -- from determining how much arsenic is allowable in your drinking water to whether your favorite TV show can drop the F-bomb in primetime -- affect all of us, their deliberations and the way that lobbyists influence their decisions receive very little coverage. To make sense of these debates, follow the implementation of health care and financial reform and decipher the minutia of the Federal Register, "The Watchdog" is on the case. If you have any tips, send them to email@example.com.
This morning's House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the offshore drilling oversight bureau's budget request got off to a testy start when chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) attacked the Interior Department.
Hastings, a big supporter of increased offshore drilling, slammed DOI's recent report, which found that more than two-thirds of offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico and more than half of onshore leases on federal lands “sit idle.” Issued yesterday, the report undercut the arguments of some drilling proponents, who have criticized the Interior for delays in issuing new offshore-drilling permits.
In his prepared remarks, Hastings shot back that the department "flat-out invents" the definition of "inactive" as a way to defend the administration's policies (such as the recent moratorium on offshore drilling) in the wake of rising gas prices.
Later, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) director Michael Bromwich pushed for more funding, saying his agency is a "starved stepchild" deprived of the resources it needs to conduct proper oversight of offshore drilling.
- Nice profile of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's chief enforcer, Richard Cordray, the hard-charging former Ohio attorney general who sued some of the nation’s largest banks for their bungling of mortgage foreclosures and has described Wall Street as a “fixed casino.”
- Almost one year after the BP spill, tarballs the size of a kid's head are still washing up on beaches, tweets MoJo.
- Keep an eye on the comments submitted in response to the Treasury's request for public input on its regulatory review.
- Are companies and countries ready for new conflict mineral regulations that have gone into effect, requiring companies to verify they are not purchasing gold and certain minerals from the Congo?