Public Citizen Opposes Nomination of Susan Dudley to Nation’s Top Regulatory Oversight Position at OMB

August 1, 2006

Public Citizen Opposes Nomination of Susan Dudley to Nation’s Top Regulatory Oversight Position at OMB

Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook

The announcement last night of the White House’s intention to nominate Susan Dudley as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the Office of Management and Budget represents another attack by the Bush administration on the government’s ability to hold industry accountable and keep Americans safe.

Although the OIRA is little known to the public, it has enormous power to weaken, delay and eliminate hard-won regulations designed to protect the public in the workplace, on our roads and in our homes. It reviews protections instituted by watchdog offices such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – everything from auto safety standards to limits on industrial chemicals and air and water pollutants. Under this administration, OIRA has weakened these already troubled agencies. If Dudley is confirmed by the Senate, she will further strip them of their ability to stand up to government secrecy, politicization and corporate interests.

Throughout her career, Dudley has consistently fought against government safeguards and advocated a radical, hands-off approach to regulating corporations. As director of regulatory studies at the industry-funded Mercatus Center, Dudley has sought to strike down countless environmental, health and safety rules and found willing allies in the administration. She has opposed such things as EPA’s attempts to keep arsenic out of our drinking water and to lower levels of disease-causing smog. She has questioned NHTSA’s life-saving airbag regulations and the Department of Transportation’s hours-of-service rules to keep sleep-deprived truck drivers off our roads. She has championed energy deregulation, which has led to skyrocketing prices and little consumer relief during record-setting heat waves. The list goes on and on.

 

Dudley is unfit to head the country’s top regulatory oversight position. The administration knew that her nomination would be opposed by environmental, labor and safety advocates and timed its announcement a week before the Senate is scheduled to adjourn, perhaps planning a recess appointment. If it gets the chance, the Senate should vote against her nomination. Public health and safety depend upon it.

 

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