Bush Delays Some Last Minute Clinton Regulations


DATE: April 8, 2001

BACKGROUND: Last week President Bush's administration delayed some last minute Clinton regulations. However, EPA did allow the review of pesticides to continue. Here is a summary of the past week's actions:

EPA: Administrator Christie Whitman announced arsenic standards in drinking water would remain at 50 parts per billion (ppb) because the "scientific indiators are unclear." The Clinton administration had proposed lowering the limits to 10 ppb which would have been very costly to rural communities. Whitman did say the agency would review studies and make revisions if necessary.

EPA: In a Jan. 19 settlement to a court case, the Clinton administration agreed to a safety review of 39 commonly used pesticides. Whitman agreed to abide by the agreement but promised to involve pesticide makers and the public in the review. She also instructed agency personnel to get advice from EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel when doing the risk assessments.

Bureau of Land Management: New hard rock mining regulations which would have given the government authority to prohibit mines on federal land were re-opened for comment. New regulations are to be published in July and could deny the agency the ability to prohibit mining.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife/National Marine Fisheries Service: Regional directors of the two agencies said they no longer support a "supplemental biological opinion" signed in the last days of the Clinton administration. The supplement added to a 1998 opinion governing how federal lands are managed east of the Cascades Mountains by requiring larger buffers along streams to allegedly better protect salmon but which would also prevent logging in those areas.

Forest Service/Justice Department: The Bush Justice Dept. filed a motion in federal district court in Idaho proposing to postpone the forest roadless rules. The rules which would prohibit roads and therefore logging in 58.5 million acres of national forests were to have gone into effect in March. Bush's 60 day moratorium on all last minute Clinton rules delayed them till May 12. The judge ruled the government must re-appear in court March 28 to explain its position.

by Tom and Gretchen Randall, Directors
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or TRandall@nationalcenter.org
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613