Senate Confirms Enemy of Regulations for Top Regulatory Post

NRDC's Assessment of John Graham: Too Risky

WASHINGTON (July 20, 2001) - Yesterday's 61-37 vote by the Senate to approve the nomination of John D. Graham for a key post at the Office of Management and Budget spells trouble for public health and the environment, says NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

"Throughout his career, John Graham has consistently slanted regulatory reviews to favor business interests over environmental safeguards," said Wesley Warren, senior fellow of environmental economics at NRDC and former OMB official.

Graham's confirmation as administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs places him in position to apply his extreme form of risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis, which is based on problematic and morally objectionable assumptions. His methodology consistently underestimates the benefits of environmental protections to public health and the environment. Graham's record puts him squarely in opposition to some of the most important environmental and health achievements of the last decade, according to NRDC.

As director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis -- an industry-funded research group that frequently supports pro-industry positions on the regulatory process -- Graham advocated an extremely biased approach to risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis, providing support for opponents of regulation. Environmental, health and labor groups agree that Graham's controversial economic analyses, ideological bias against strong regulatory standards and industry connections make him the wrong choice to serve as the nation's "regulatory gatekeeper."

Largely because of these concerns, more Senators voted against Graham than another of Bush's highly controversial nominees, Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who received 24 no-votes. Forty-two Senators voted against Attorney General John Ashcroft's nomination.

"The large number of Senators voting against this nominee sends a strong message to the White House and John Graham that his controversial approach will be carefully scrutinized," added Warren.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.