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In a move that seeks to bolster the lagging deregulatory agenda at OSHA and other agencies, President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate Eugene Scalia, a former Labor Department (DOL) solicitor, to replace exiting Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.

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EPA is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to transfer industry’s challenge over the agency’s recent ban of consumer sales of the paint-stripping chemical methylene chloride to the 2nd Circuit, where environmentalists and labor groups previously filed their own challenges to EPA’s rule.

Bolstering prospects for a bill banning the manufacture and use of asbestos, a group of Democratic attorneys general (AGs) is supporting the bill while agreeing with GOP lawmakers and industry groups that the legislation may have to give more time for producers of chlorine used for water treatment to transition to non-asbestos methods.

Cal/OSHA is advancing for formal rulemaking first-time regulations to prevent indoor heat illness among workers across an array of job sectors, drawing concerns and recommendations from both labor representatives and employers, who suggest that other states could eventually follow California’s lead.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s July 12 resignation creates new uncertainty for the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda at OSHA, further disappointing industry groups who have long been concerned at the agency’s failure to roll back a series of Obama-era measures or scale back its enforcement, along with other policy issues.

House Democrats, backed by a coalition of labor, public interest and other groups, are pushing a bill requiring OSHA to protect workers from heat-related injuries and illnesses, though it is facing stiff opposition from Republicans, who say it imposes standards without allowing for adequate regional flexibilities, among other things.

Three years after Congress reformed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), handing EPA a host of new authorities to regulate industrial chemicals, agency staff are struggling to meet the law’s deadlines, many rules face litigation, and states and retailers continue to lack confidence that the new regime will provide the certainty they are seeking.

Backed by a host of labor and other groups, House Democrats are preparing to push legislation that would require OSHA to quickly craft a standard requiring employers to protect their employees from excessive heat, a measure that if enacted would preempt a pending petition many of the groups have filed asking the agency to craft such a standard.

A key House Democrat plans to introduce legislation to advance a progressive regulatory reform agenda that includes neutralizing “corporate capture” at OSHA and other agencies, aiming to start debate on a counterpoint to GOP and industry calls for regulatory reform bills that might hinder efforts to pursue novel regulatory policies.

Nearly a dozen Democratic senators are stepping up pressure on the Trump administration to address allegations of workplace violence at McDonalds, putting pressure on OSHA to toughen its scrutiny of the company even as they struggle to advance legislation requiring the agency to quickly set a standard for the health sector.

Short Takes

President Trump’s nominee to lead OSHA, Scott Mugno, could soon be confirmed by the Senate after Republicans moved unilaterally to scale back debate rules that had required 30 hours of debate on judicial and executive branch nominees before any votes to now only require two hours.

A Marine Corps veteran asking the Supreme Court to scrap its practice of deferring to OSHA and other agencies on their regulatory interpretations says the justices should reject the Trump administration’s push for a scaled-back deference doctrine, arguing such an outcome would have “bizarre, if not destructive” consequences.

A group of 34 House Democrats is urging Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to reinstate the Obama administration's 2016 final recordkeeping and reporting rule which required employers to submit to OSHA reports on workplace illnesses and injuries but which the Trump administration has scaled back to address what it says are privacy concerns.

The White House has completed its review of EPA’s rule limiting use of methylene chloride in paint strippers, clearing the way for the agency to issue a first-time measure targeting an existing chemical under the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) though critics say it fails to adequately protect workers and falls short of an Obama plan.