In the April 2007 issue of BioScience, Noreen Parks reports on recent federal actions that will change the way federal regulations are developed.

An excerpt from the article follows:

In mid-January, as national attention focused on congressional reorganization and the never-ending controversies surrounding the Iraq war, the White House rewrote key chapters of the book on federal regulations. In one fell swoop, Executive Order 13422 made economic criteria the primary basis for regulation, placed fresh restrictions on agencies, amplified the role of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and extended the already protracted process of rulemaking. US Chamber of Commerce spokesman William Kovacs hailed the moves as the "first truly significant hold federal bureaucrats to account and insist they act with discretion when imposing new and expensive burdens on businesses and consumers." But government watchdogs contend that the new order further politicizes the regulatory system, subverts agencies' abilities to fulfill their legal mandates, and erodes Congress's role in setting regulatory standards.

In brief, four important changes were enacted, affecting the federal agencies responsible for public health, safety, and environmental regulation.

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