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Policy

Obama Revokes Bush Directive on Regulations

by Cheryl Hogue
February 9, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 6

President Barack Obama has revoked a controversial 2007 directive from former President George W. Bush on federal regulation. Bush's order added layers of bureaucracy to the process of issuing regulations and gave the White House greater control over agencies' rules (C&EN, Feb. 26, 2007, page 43). Although the Bush directive was praised by some industry groups, critics said it slowed the federal government's ability to regulate. The directive also gave the White House Office of Management & Budget the authority to review and change nonbinding agency guidance documents, including science-based ones. In an executive order (E.O. 13497) made public on Feb. 4, Obama overturned the Bush directive and instructed federal agencies to rescind any guidelines or policies implementing it. Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), chairman of the House Science & Technology Subcommittee on Investigation & Oversight, says Obama's move "keeps political operatives from squelching scientists in federal agencies in secret and with no accountability to anyone."

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