After a case of mad cow disease surfaced in Washington State late last year, federal regulators vowed to move swiftly to adopt rules to reduce the risks of further problems and restore confidence in the nation's meat industry.Ho hum.
Some rules were adopted this year. But a few weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration, after heavy lobbying from the beef and feed industries, took steps to delay - and to the concern of food safety groups, possibly kill - completion of the most controversial and perhaps most expensive proposal for cattle companies.
That proposal would sharply restrict what could be included in animal feed. Shortly after the administration slowed its consideration of the rule, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association broke its nonpartisan tradition and endorsed President Bush for re-election.
The F.D.A. decision was part of a broader pattern.
In recent weeks, federal agencies across the vast Washington bureaucracy have delayed completion of a range of proposed regulations from food safety and the environment to corporate governance and telecommunications policy until after Election Day, when regulatory action may be more politically palatable.
The delays come after heavy lobbying by industry organizations, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the cattle and feed industries, the four regional Bell operating telephone companies, big health care providers and timber and mining interests...
"Generally, regulatory submissions often get pushed off in election years,'' said Gene Kimmelman, a senior director of public policy at Consumers Union.
"What is unusual this time,'' he added, "is the clear pattern of holding back regulatory decisions that will benefit the largest industry players and will drive up prices and market place risks for consumers, ranging from telephones to drugs to the risks of contaminants of food. The pattern of slow rolling will ultimately benefit the largest players and hit consumers in the pocketbook.''
Monday, September 27, 2004
Your Interests at Work
Posted by weinish at 11:59 AM