The Regulatory Week in Review: September 23, 2011

The White House launched the online tool We the People to assist web users in creating electronic petitions addressed to the Obama Administration. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled the CORE Network, a national system dedicated to tracking, responding to, and following up on foodborne illness outbreaks. As part of its plan to phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in medical devices, the FDA affirmed that asthma inhalers containing CFCs will no longer be sold after 2011. One of the products that will be discontinued is the only asthma inhaler currently available over the counter. The Open Government Partnership formally launched on Tuesday with eight member states, including the U.S., dedicating themselves to promoting transparency and citizen participation in government. Following in the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) footsteps, Cellular South filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia to block AT&T's proposed merger with T-Mobile. Last week, seven U.S. states joined in the DOJ's suit. See related RegBlog post. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed amendments to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), including requiring more reliable solicitations of parental consent and toughening confidentiality standards. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a rule to limit the transactions a person can enter into if he or she has recently participated in the creation or sale of asset-backed securities. President Obama signed a transportation funding bill, averting another Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shutdown for the near future. Congress, however, is still struggling to produce a short-term funding bill to fund the U.S. government through Sept. 30. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HSRA) restricted public access to its online database after a reporter allegedly decoded the identity of a physician using publicly available information. The database contains disciplinary and malpractice information on medical practitioners and suppliers but does not identify them by name. Texas sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which is aimed at curbing air pollution. Opponents of the rule said that the EPA did not give Texas enough time to comply with the rule and that the required changes were "cost-prohibitive." EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Energy and Commerce Committee to respond to members' concerns about the EPA's efficiency and responsiveness. It was her first address to Congress since President Obama asked the EPA on September 2 to delay new ozone standards. See related RegBlog post. A new report from the Economic Policy Institute estimated that current and proposed EPA regulation under the Obama Administration will produce more benefits than costs.

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