In the final months of his administration, George W. Bush is working to enact a flurry of new federal regulations that will weaken rules protecting consumers and the environment. The so-called "midnight regulations" aim to relax standards that protect drinking water, loosen controls on global warming pollutants, remove obstacles to ocean fishing and ease restrictions on mountaintop coal mining activities. The new regulations would be difficult to undo, since the law mandates lengthy periods for re-drafting, re-analysis and public comment. Such activity by an outgoing president is not unusual, nor is the number of regulations being considered. But Matthew Madia of OMB Watch, a group formed to "lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the White House's Office of Management and Budget," called Bush's deluge of rules "a last-minute assault on the public ... happening on multiple fronts."
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