Going Against the Green at Midnight

November 3, 2008

Tuesday’s election will bring a new administration to Washington, but not before the outgoing one delivers a final punch to efforts to greenify.

That’s because an outgoing President, “lame duck” as they are called, often puts a final stamp of approval on many issues considered too politically “hot” to touch while still in office. They are called midnight regulations. And this President is no different.

Last May, the White House sent a memo to regulatory agencies asking them to forward any proposed changes they might wish for, with the intent to make them final by November 1.

The Washington Post reports that as many as 90 new rules are being offered, many seem to ease environmental rules governing everything from commercial fishing to power production.

One possible rule would lift a requirement that environmental impact statements would no longer be required for changes at some fisheries and would give review of those operations to area councils dominated by fishing interests both commercial and recreational.

Another rule would allow increased emissions from oil refineries, chemical factories and other industrial plants.

And still other rules would ease limits on pollutions from power plants, a major energy industry goal for the past eight years that both Democrats in Congress as well as environmentalists oppose.

Midnight regulations aren’t anything new. The previous Clinton Administration certainly made a name for itself with its list of last minute demands, but here at Green Business Alliance we hope that someday, the lawmaking on the way out the door will move environmental law forward instead of back, to help all of us win in the election by going green.

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