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Midnight rulemaking watch

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We reported earlier this month on the expected wave of “midnight regulation” at the end of the Bush administration. Agencies were supposed to issue all final regulations by Nov. 1, according to OMB, except in “extraordinary circumstances.”

But experts predicted dozens of new rules would miss the deadline and slip out the door before Jan. 20 (as happens during every transition).

Sure enough, there are more than a dozen new rules in today’s Federal Register, including at least two proposed rules (which agencies were supposed to stop creating by July 1). A few examples:

  • A final rule from the EPA sets limits on a pesticide called ipconazole used by agricultural companies;
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finalized a rule on the number of hours truck and bus drivers can work;
  • A final Commerce Department rule allows fishermen to use “trawl gear” to catch halibut in Alaska; environmental groups say this is an extremely damaging method of fishing.

None of these rules appear driven by “extraordinary circumstances,” do they?

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