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Midnight Regs: Pollution in National Parks And More!

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by Jesse Nankin, ProPublica

Grand Canyon National Park (Credit: James Jordan)We have more proposed and finalized regulations from the Bush administration to share. Six, to be precise.

Today's additions to our Midnight Regulations chart include rules that affect our national parks, the approval and labeling of genetically-modified food, and public access to information from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A rule from the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to change the way air pollution is measured in wilderness areas and in national parks. Rather than monitoring emissions in 3- and 24-hour intervals, pollution levels would be averaged over the year. The rule, critics say, could make it easier for oil refineries and other polluting energy producers to build plants near these cherished areas, and creates a loophole that could lead to greater pollution levels. According to the Washington Post, the proposed rule has not just incited controversy amongst environmentalists, but inside the EPA as well.

Also interesting are draft guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration for the commercialization of food products from animals that have been genetically re-engineered. The FDA is calling for a review process similar to what the agency requires for new drugs. But critics point out that the FDA plans to do the reviews behind closed doors. They also point to the proposal's lack of strict guidelines for labeling genetically-modified food.

As for HUD, the final rule prohibits employees from testifying or releasing documents requested by subpoena or under the Freedom of Information Act without approval from general counsel. But luckily, the rule also delegates the authority to approve such requests to more individuals within the Office of General Counsel.  

They're all now on our running list of midnight regulations.  And as always, here's how to ferret out midnight regs for yourself.

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