Last minute regulations

With a predicted record turnout of voters taking to the polls today and the public fixated on the historic presidential election, President George W. Bush is scrambling to enact a slew of federal regulations before he leaves office in January. But the people should be wary of such hasty proposals. The most prominent regulations would weaken consumer and environment protection, and could be the most controversial deregulations during BushâÄôs reign. The environmental rules include new standards for preventing oil spills and containing them, easing controls on emissions of pollutants and drinking water standards, and taking away a key restriction to mountaintop coal mining. Other proposed rule changes would eliminate a requirement for environmental impact statements for certain decisions on fish management. The regulations also include simplifying the process for settling real estate transactions and the rules that govern workers who take family and medical-related leaves. Although such regulations or deregulations at the final stretch of a presidency are not uncommon, and in fact BushâÄôs proposed rules, as many as 90, will still not exceed the number enacted by his predecessor Bill Clinton, the rules will be very difficult to reverse for BushâÄôs successor, and have a significant impact on the economy because at least nine exceed $100 million annually in costs. The public should be wary of such hasty moves in the final stretch, despite the fact a new leadership will replace BushâÄôs place as many of the changes will impact our country and the new president.