Bottom Line Environmental Protection

The controversial head of an obscure agency in the White House is a "lightening rod" for criticism of Bush administration regulatory actions. John D. Graham runs the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and is "known as a stickler for the bottom line," the Seattle Times' Alex Fryer writes. "Through rigorous analysis, Graham wants to create 'smart' regulation that protects the environment at lower cost. But it is a process fraught with subjectivity. While it's relatively simple to document how environmental regulation hurts businesses, the value of pristine forests, clean lakes and species protection can't be expressed in dollars. As a result, the ratio between costs and benefits often appears skewed. And when it comes to actually writing regulation, OIRA has a record of adopting language proposed by industry lobbyists, not environmentalists."