iOS app Android app

Rena Steinzor
Rena Steinzor is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law and immediate past President of the Center for Progressive Reform, a network of scholars working to protect health, safety, and the environment.

Entries by Rena Steinzor

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back on Toxic Chemicals

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 1:28 PM

Within the next few days, Congress is likely to enact the first update of a major environmental statute in many years. Widely hailed as a bipartisan compromise, legislation to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA, pronounced like the opera Tosca) was made possible by the steely and relentless determination...

Read Post

Kill a Worker? You're Not a Criminal. Steal a Worker's Pay? You Are One.

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 12:48 PM

Labor Secretary Tom Perez came into office pledging to create good jobs and take on the economic injustice that oppresses blue-collar workers, from raising the minimum wage and restoring unpaid overtime to combatting wage theft. Luckily, the head of his Wage and Hour Division, David Weil, the author of a...

Read Post

The President's Schizophrenia on the Working Class

(1) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 6:34 PM

Co-authored with Matthew Shudtz

President Obama's approval rating is up to 50 percent for the first time in two years after a stellar period of national reconciliation and the safeguarding of Obamacare, his signature, and truly momentous, achievement. The president, in fulfillment of his noble promises to help...

Read Post

House Bipartisanship Throws Up Pitifully Weak Toxic Chemicals Control Bill

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2015 | 5:36 PM

Co-authored by Matthew Shudtz

Anyone who cares about the development of sound public policy has grown distraught over congressional gridlock. The House and Senate are dysfunctional to an extent not seen in modern times. Neither is able to develop bipartisan legislation to deal with a slew of urgent social problems,...

Read Post

GM and Its No Good, Very Bad Year

(9) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 4:26 PM

Co-authored by Thomas McGarity

With the announcement that GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra received the outsized compensation of $16.2 million in 2014, what should have been a year of humiliation and soul-searching for that feckless automaker instead ended on a disturbingly self-satisfied note. Purely from a public relations perspective,...

Read Post

The Age of Greed: Toxic Chemical Control Is 'High Priority' Failure for Nation's Government

(1) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 3:59 PM

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reiterated its conclusion that EPA's regulation of toxic chemicals is in crisis, unable to deliver badly needed protection to the American people. These benighted programs are among a couple of dozen of "high priority" failures that cause serious harm to public health, waste...

Read Post

The Next Top Prosecutor and White Collar Crime

(0) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 1:34 PM

Candice Anderson was 21 when she lost control of her Chevrolet Cobalt in a moving stall caused by a defective ignition switch, drove into a tree and killed her fiancé. Two years later, in 2006, Texas police charged her with reckless homicide. Her parents liquidated their retirement account...

Read Post

Corporate Violence as Crime: Anniversary of the West Virginia Chemical Spill

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 8:51 AM

A year ago, about 300,000 people in and around Charleston, West Virginia, lost their drinking water source when thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical known as MCHM (4-methylcyclohexanemethanol) leaked into the nearby Elk River through a hole in a rusted-out storage tank. Last month, the wheels of...

Read Post

President Obama's Home Stretch: Saving Lives, Conserving Natural Resources, and Securing His Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 11:24 AM

Recently, the New York Times ran the best of dozens of stories about how President Obama will behave in the last quarter of his eight years in office. Veteran political reporters Peter Baker and Michael Shear wrote:

"As the President's advisers map out the next two years,...
Read Post

Obama Administration Turns Its Back on Poultry Processing Workers

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 3:44 PM

Only in Washington, D.C. is nothing portrayed as something. Out in the nation, not so much. And so it was late last week that the Obama Administration took a victory lap for not making life even more miserable for some of the most abused workers in America. Yup, despite the...

Read Post

Department of Agriculture Sends Misguided Fiasco of a Poultry Processing Rule to the White House

(2) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 4:01 PM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent its benighted poultry processing rule to the White House for final review. The millions of consumers who eat undercooked chicken at their peril and the beleaguered workers in these dank, overcrowded, and dangerous plants can only hope the president's people...

Read Post

Government Declares BP a 'Responsible' Contractor: Workers and Taxpayers Beware

(3) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 5:46 PM

A scant five days before the Department of Interior opens a new round of bids for oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, the EPA has blinked, pronouncing BP, the incorrigible corporate scofflaw of the new millennium, once again fit to do business with the government.

To get...

Read Post

West Virginia: Failed Government Should Not Be This President's Legacy

(1) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 12:59 PM

As people across the country and around the world watched the tableau of 300,000 West Virginians give up their drinking, cooking and bath water for days on end because an untested toxic chemical was spilled by a company that was co-founded by a twice-convicted felon, the ever-present John...

Read Post

The Age of Greed: Mitch McConnell Goes to Bat for Big Coal After West Virginia Catastrophe

(5) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 8:46 AM

For the past week, 300,000 people in and around Charleston, West Virginia, were unable to drink the water that came from their taps, because of the toxic byproduct of feeble regulation and non-existent enforcement. Thousands of gallons of a coal-cleaning agent seeped into the local water supply after it oozed...

Read Post

Fiddling While Rome Burns: 64 Dead, 741 Sick, and Cass Sunstein's Dangerous Love Affair With Cost-Benefit Analysis

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 10:13 AM

Former (de)regulatory czar Cass Sunstein is back, full of advice on how to run the government from his perch as a Harvard law professor. In a "View" column for Bloomberg News entitled "Left and Right Are Both Wrong About Regulation," Sunstein urges his former allies and enemies to...

Read Post

What's for Thanksgiving? Hopefully Not More Crippling Pain for Poultry Workers

(1) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 3:08 PM

When we all sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, we hope that the food we are feeding our families is wholesome and that the workers who produce it are safe. Thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), ever the mindless booster of corporate profits, that turkey at the center of...

Read Post

Cook That Chicken Because You're on Your Own

(2) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 12:38 PM

Salmonella outbreak reveals we need more, not fewer, cops on the food safety beat.

Some 317 victims of salmonella poisoning from Foster Farms chicken sold in 20 states have learned firsthand why we need government. Who knows how much faster the threat would have been...

Read Post

A Solution to Regulatory Delay: End Centralized White House Regulatory Review

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 12:04 PM

A series of catastrophic regulatory failures have focused attention on the weakened condition of regulatory agencies assigned to protect public health, worker and consumer safety, and the environment. The destructive convergence of funding shortfalls, political attacks, and outmoded legal authority have set the stage for ineffective enforcement, unsupervised industry self-regulation,...

Read Post

Obama Deregulatory Proposal on Poultry Gets Slammed by GAO: Food Safety in Jeopardy and Workers Ignored

(1) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 2:46 PM

I've written before about the Obama Administration's very bad idea to take federal inspectors of the line at poultry processing plants, leaving the discovery of blood, guts, and feathers on the carcasses to overworked and underpaid line workers forced to process as many as 70 birds per minute...

Read Post

Obama 2.0 and Regulation: Looking Forward, Mindful of the Past

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 2:16 PM

President Obama’s reelection holds the possibility of great progress for public health, safety, and the environment — if, and only if, he recognizes the importance of these issues and stops trying to placate his most implacable opponents.

The weeks leading up to the election brought powerful reminders of two of...

Read Post