View the Original Letter
15 May 2001
The Honorable Fred Thompson
The Honorable Joseph Lieberman
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
Dear Chairman Thompson and Senator Lieberman,
I am writing on behalf of the over 450,000 members of the Natural Resources Defense Council to make clear our strong opposition to the nomination of Dr. John D. Graham to direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget. We encourage you to very carefully consider his consistent anti-regulatory record and controversial risk management methodology during your confirmation proceedings.
The Administrator of OIRA plays an extremely powerful role in establishing regulatory safeguards for every agency of our government. This position requires a fair and even-handed judge of the implications of regulatory policies. Upon close review, we believe that you will agree that John Grahams record makes him an unsuitable choice for this important position.
Dr. Graham possesses a decision-making framework that does not allow for policies that protect public health and the environment. He has consistently applied controversial methodology based on extreme and disputable assumptions without full consideration of benefits to public health and the environment. Grahams record puts him squarely in opposition to some of the most important environmental and health achievements of the last two decades. His record of discounting the risks of well-documented pollutants raises questions about his ability to objectively review all regulatory decisions from federal agencies.
Complicating matters further, John Graham and his colleagues at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis have been handsomely rewarded by industry funders who oppose regulations protective of public health and the environment and have directly benefited from Dr. Grahams work. These relationships form a disturbing pattern that makes it very difficult to imagine how Dr. Graham could effectively run this office free of conflicts of interests and with the public view in mind.
Dr. Grahams inherently biased record clearly demonstrates that he is not an objective analyst of regulatory policies and would not be a proper choice for this position. We therefore strongly urge you to oppose the nomination of Dr. Graham to be the Administrator of ORIA.