Thursday, November 17, 2011

Former EPA policy chief slams White House for timidity

[an excerpt from Greenwire] Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011 U.S. EPA's former policy chief is accusing the Obama administration of failing to mount a forceful defense of environmental regulations in the face of fierce partisan attacks. Lisa Heinzerling left EPA after a two-year stint last December, just after the 2010 midterm elections put Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives. Now back in her teaching job at Georgetown Law Center, Heinzerling -- who played a key role in crafting the administration's greenhouse gas regulations -- has leapt back into the fray with a paper written for the American Constitution Society, a left-leaning legal group. The paper is to be officially released Monday. Heinzerling expressed concern in particular at the language in President Obama's January 2011 executive order that required agencies to examine regulations and conclude whether any could be "more effective or less burdensome." The administration, she writes, has "focused almost entirely on the costs, and not the benefits of regulations," a sentiment shared by many environmentalists... The administration has failed to mount a vigorous defense of the health, safety and other benefits of regulation, she says...Heinzerling says the White House "appeared to make public health and welfare protections subservient to alleviation of regulatory costs." The White House should be doing more, she says, to teach the public about why regulations are needed and what the outcome would be if they were rolled back, including the cost in lives. "Cancers of all kinds, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and more are prevented by environmental rules," Heinzerling writes. The administration "could be saying more" about the "whole range of consequences that can flow" from a lack of regulation, she adds.

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