The environmental world is taking note today of a new and exhaustive analysis that shows Obama more often than not sides with industry on regulation, particularly when it comes to the environment.
That's nothing new to environmental groups who have been deeply disappointed in the president's track record, which contradict his many campaign promises to separate politics and science, they say. Now, the Center for Progressive Reform, a non-profit that focuses on environmental issues and law, has studied 10 years worth of data on how the White House weighed in on industry regulation.
They looked 1,080 meetings held over a 10-year period (October 2001-June 2011) with 5,759 outside lobbyists, 65 percent of whom represented industry and 12 percent of whom represented public interest groups. Rena I. Steinzor, Professor at the University of Maryland School of Law and President of the CPR, wrote on Grist today:
"The Obama administration has further entrenched a regulatory system in which White House officials trump agency expertise with decisions based on raw politics. While the Bush administration changed 64 percent of regulations under this process, the Obama administration has changed 76 percent."
"OIRA is obsessed with the EPA. While rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made up only 11 percent of all reviews by OIRA, 41 percent of all OIRA meetings targeted EPA rules. EPA rules were changed at a significantly higher rate -- 84 percent -- than those of other agencies -- 65 percent -- over the whole 10-year period."
Green groups often name Bill Daley, the White House chief of staff, as the reason behind what appears to be a shift in the administration's environmental priorities. A former executive at J.P. Morgan Chase, Daley was brought into the White House in an effort to improve its its relationship with business.
Steinzor has said that Daley and OIRA Administrator Cass Sunstein -- who is known for his academic work at the University of Chicago on the risks of over-regulation -- want to put regulatory efforts on the back burner.
The New York Times earlier this month published an in-depth analysis of the Obama's shift on proposed new smog regulations and how it relates to his re-election strategy.