The White House unveiled its semiannual regulatory agenda on Friday afternoon, detailing the rules that federal agencies will make top priorities in the next year.
A quick look at the administration's Unified Agenda revealed some surprises, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s plan to adopt flammability standards for upholstered furniture. The rule is listed as economically significant meaning it carries an annual price tag of $100 million of more.
But other regulatory actions have long been anticipated.
The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to finalize greenhouse gas emission standards for new and existing power plants by 2015 and issue a final rule on coal ash residue no later than Dec. 19.
The Department of Labor has made it a priority to adopt standards in the coming months that lower workers’ exposure to silica dust.
And the Food and Drug Administration plans to issue standards on the sale and distribution of tobacco products that include age-related access restrictions on advertising and promotion.
But regulatory advocates are frustrated with the Obama Administration’s timing in releasing the report.
“It’s become an unfortunate tradition of this administration and others to drop these regulatory agendas late on a Friday and right before a holiday,” said Matt Shudtz, executive director of the Center for Progressive Reform.
“It’s unfortunate because it’s an update on protections for Americans of all stripes. It lays out the administration’s plan and it deserves more attention.”
Shudtz said he was pleased to see tighter standards coming for pesticide applicators.
“The agency has set a goal of publishing the final rule by May,” he said. "The last update was in early 1990s and this proposal is a real step forward for pesticide workers.“
And though its encouraging to see the Occupational Safety and Health Administration set a June 2015 deadline for reviewing comments on the silica dust rule, Shudtz said the rule still needs to be reviewed by the White House.
“It’s unclear from this agenda whether OSHA and the White House are treating the rule with the sense of urgency that they ought to be, given the two million workers exposed to the carcinogen,” he said.
American Action Forum, a conservative think tank, which was still reviewing the agenda late Friday, said there aren’t too many new rules.
“It is interesting that the Climate Action plan is still essentially on schedule, with the existing source rule on track for a July 2015 release,” Sam Batkins AAF’s director of regulatory policy, said in an email.
“The rule for new sources is still on schedule as well, despite extensions in the comment period. Other than two new efficiency rules, there doesn’t appear to be a rash of new actions (23 overall). By comparison there were 21 significant new actions in the previous agenda.”
This story was updated on Sunday at 9:44 a.m.