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Public Citizen to Bush: Withdraw Susan Dudley Nomination for Key Regulatory Agency

Nov. 13, 2006

Public Citizen to Bush: Withdraw Susan Dudley Nomination for Key Regulatory Agency

Dudley’s Radical Ideology and Close Ties to Industry Will Weaken Government Protections and Threaten Public Health and Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nomination of Susan Dudley as the country’s next regulatory czar should be withdrawn as a display of bipartisan cooperation, Public Citizen wrote in a letter sent to President Bush today as the U.S. Senate began hearings on the nomination.

Bush nominated Dudley to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is a part of the White House Office of Management and Budget. OIRA is little known to the public but has enormous power to weaken, delay and eliminate hard-won regulations designed to protect the public in the workplace, on the highways and in their homes. It reviews protections instituted by such health, safety and environmental agencies 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.

Although the administration knew of the OIRA vacancy since October 2005, Bush waited until August 2006, when Congress was out of session, to nominate the controversial Dudley for this key regulatory post.

“The enormous power that the OIRA administrator would wield over all public health, safety, environmental, civil rights, privacy and consumer safeguards makes this nomination too important an issue to leave to this lame-duck Congress,” Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook wrote in the letter.

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 advocated policies such as regulatory sunsets, or mandatory expiration dates for all protective standards, which would force agencies to plea for the continuation of critical safeguards. Mercatus receives funds from a who’s who of the oil and gas industries and their foundations.  

Dudley has sought to strike down countless environmental, health and safety rules, among them: the EPA’s attempts to reduce the amount of arsenic in drinking water and lower levels of disease-causing smog, NHTSA’s life-saving air bag regulations and the Department of Transportation’s hours-of-service rules to keep sleep-deprived truck drivers off the roads.  

“If allowed to serve as OIRA administrator, Dudley would continue her anti-regulatory agenda from a position with enormous power over federal health, safety and environmental protections,” said Claybrook. “She would come to this office with an extremist agenda that would destroy the federal government’s ability to protect the public. The public cannot afford to pay that price.”

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing will begin today at 2:30 p.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 342.

To read Public Citizen’s letter and learn more about why Susan Dudley is unfit to head this important regulatory agency, click here.