President Barack Obama is changing the way that the US government sets its regulations. The move is one of a series of actions that will affect science-informed rules from pollution standards to food-safety inspections.
Obama has asked Peter Orszag, the new head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to suggest revisions to the office's fundamental principles for reviewing proposed government regulations. He has also revoked an executive order, signed in January 2007 by notoriously regulation-averse former President Bush, that had allowed a political appointee in each agency to veto proposed regulations before they became public.
Rick Melberth, head of regulatory policy at the Washington DC group OMB Watch, says that analysts there are "very happy" with Obama's early steps to reform. Many of the problems, he says, predate the Bush administration. "For three decades, there have been an increasing number of obstacles placed in the way of agencies being able to regulate in a timely and effective manner."