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For Immediate Release, January 21, 2009

Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

Obama Administration Freezes Finalization of Midnight Regulations:
Worst of Bush Administration Regulations Already In Effect

PORTLAND, Oreg.— The Obama administration announced yesterday a freeze on publication of all proposed and final rules in the Federal Register until they are reviewed by an agency or department head appointed by the new administration. Many of the midnight regulations, such as changes to the rules implementing the Endangered Species Act and relaxation of rules restricting mountain top removal, have already gone into effect and will need to be undone by other means.

“We are grateful the Obama administration has taken this important first step towards undoing the numerous midnight regulations advanced by the Bush administration,” said Noah Greenwald, biodiversity program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The majority of regulations threatening our environment, health and economy, however, will need to undone by Congress, the courts or new rulemaking.”

The freeze does put a halt to corporate fuel economy standards (CAFE) being developed by the administration, a rule that changed the format of the list of endangered species that attempted to redefine the extent of coverage provided to endangered species, and rules to remove protections for gray wolves in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes.

“The Obama administration now has an opportunity to develop fuel economy standards that will help address climate change and to ensure that endangered species, including the gray wolf, receive the protection they need to survive and recover,” said Greenwald.

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