Washington Post has a disturbing story coming for Page One on Wednesday:
Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers' on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.
Well, isn't that a nice way to end the Bush presidency.
And not only that, the administration is doing it on the sly ...
Story should be online soon at http://www.washingtonpost.com
Yup, they are trying to sneak this through!
The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices of regulatory plans that it filed in December and May. Instead, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao's intention to push for the rule first surfaced on July 7, when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted on its Web site that it was reviewing the proposal, identified only by its nine-word title.
Essentially, what is proposed is to add another step to the lengthy process to allow companies to again challenge the proposed rules.
The text of the proposed rule has not been made public, but according to sources briefed on the change and to an early draft obtained by The Washington Post, it would call for reexamining the methods used to measure risks posed by workplace exposure to toxins. The change would address long-standing complaints from businesses that the government overestimates the risk posed by job exposure to chemicals.
The article points out that in seven and a half years, the Bush administration has introduced only ONE new workplace safety measure involving chemicals, and that was under a court order!
But now the RUSH IS ON to get something done -- that is to ROLLBACK worker protections.
Now, it so happens that just last week, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, defended the proposal in an op-ed piece in the New York Sun, even thought it had yet to be made public.
As the Washington Post article points out ...
Furchtgott-Roth did not mention in the article that she was one of the consultants who worked with Labor beginning in September 2007 on a $349,000 outside study of the risk-assessment process.
Of course she urges quick action on the proposal before another administration has a chance to look at it.
It's an insult to America's workers for the Department of Labor to be spending its time in the last year of this administration allegedly fine-tuning the details of how to do these regulations when, other than the one ordered by a court, they have issued no major worker-health regulations," said Adam Finkel, a professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey who is a former health standards director at Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "The reality is there's a great need to light a fire under this moribund agency to do something — anything — to protect workers."
An insult, indeed!