Howard Shelanski's confirmation hearing comes at a crucial juncture in the Obama presidency. Progress on many important rules has been halted, including the EPA' rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions from future power plants.
President Obama announced yesterday his selection of Howard Shelanski as the next Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. OIRA, although not widely known, reviews the regulations that are adopted by nearly all federal agencies.
Last week, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) approved a survey to be conducted as part of the agency's efforts to develop an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) standard.
Between October 2009 and April 2010, coal industry representatives held at least 33 meetings with White House staff on the coal ash issue, almost three times as many meetings as environmentalists and university scientists were granted on the subject.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was in a tough position on coal ash. She decided that such an important environmental justice issue should be at the forefront of the Obama Administration's agenda. But Jackson was also taking on Big Coal.
Obama appointees Peter Orszag and Cass Sunstein, the director of OMB and Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, respectively, seem to be operating in defiance of an Executive Order by Obama.
The ongoing controversy over coal ash is beginning to make the Obama administration look bad. The president came into office promising to curb the special deals given to moneyed interests. So where's the balance?