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

Entries by Rena Steinzor

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

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 12:24 PM

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,...
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Obama Administration Turns Its Back on Poultry Processing Workers

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 4:44 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...

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

(2) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 5:01 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...

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

(3) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 6:46 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...

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

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

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

(5) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 9:46 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...

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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 | 11:13 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...

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

(1) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 4:08 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...

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Cook That Chicken Because You're on Your Own

(2) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 1:38 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...

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

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 1:04 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,...

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

(1) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 3:46 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...

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

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 3:16 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...

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Obama Honors Farmworkers Just Months After Administration Jettisoned Key Farmworker Safety Rule

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 6:31 PM

President Obama traveled to Keene, California, on Monday to designate the home of César E. Chávez as a national monument -- a worthy honor for a key figure in the ongoing push for safe working conditions and fair pay. One thing the president did not raise in his remarks is...

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The Unpopularity of Cost-Benefit Analysis

(5) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 9:15 PM

If cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is really part of the furniture, you wouldn’t think recently departed OIRA Administrator Cass Sunstein would need to dedicate a column to convincing us it’s so. But there it is, and though Sunstein is now but a private citizen like the rest of us, the...

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The Economist Recycles Old Right-Wing Ideas to Gut Public Protections

(1) Comments | Posted February 21, 2012 | 5:19 PM

The Economist’s Feb. 18 edition offers a cover package of five articles on “Over-regulated America” (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Our British friends want you to know there’s a problem here in the states that needs fixing:

A study for the Small Business...

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Bureaucracy Bashing, Obama-Style

(7) Comments | Posted February 9, 2012 | 3:23 PM

Political scientists have coined the term “bureaucracy bashing” to connote the temptation now rife among national politicians to beat up on the civil service for reasons that have nothing to do with reality.  Ronald Reagan pioneered this art form of disrespecting bureaucrats in the name of downsizing government, even as...

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Obama Administration vs. Obama Administration: Are Regulations a Problem in This Economy?

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2011 | 2:05 PM

The Obama administration is sending mixed messages.

On the one hand, several top economic officials have noted the extensive evidence that a lack of demand, rather than regulation, is the cause of a slow economic recovery and low job creation. Yet the president himself has contradicted his economic advisers...

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Behind Closed Doors at the White House, Obama Administration Politicizes the Regulatory Process

(0) Comments | Posted November 28, 2011 | 2:22 PM

When former Harvard Law Professor and eclectic intellectual Cass Sunstein was named administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), conservative, industry-oriented Wall Street Journal editorial writers enthused that his appointment was a “promising sign.” A slew of subsequent events has proved their optimism well placed, as...

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The Chamber's Latest on Regulations: Crazy Costs, Mythical Benefits

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2011 | 2:20 PM

Not to be outdone by the Small Business Administration’s aptly named Office of Advocacy, the Chamber of Commerce has issued its own breathless report on how many jobs we could save if we did away with environmental, land use, and utility regulations. Crunching a bunch of dubious numbers, the SBA...

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Obama's Appeasement of Business Interests Has Real-Life Costs

(15) Comments | Posted January 18, 2011 | 3:35 PM

Sixteen months ago, President Obama stood in the well of Congress and issued a ringing call for a progressive vision of government. Working to persuade Members of Congress to adopt health care reform, he said that “large-heartedness… is part of the American character.  Our ability to stand in other people's...

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