Bush signs slew of pro-business bills before exit



WASHINGTON: George W Bush is using the waning days of his presidency to implement a raft of pro-business regulations, triggering vows by the incoming Obama administration and congressional Democrats to gut the measures.

Bush is proposing changes to federal rules that critics say make it more difficult to protect US workers from exposure to toxic chemicals, reduce the use of employee medical leave and open more land to oil and gas exploration. The effort is supported by the US Chamber of Commerce and trade groups representing companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Dow Chemical Co.

The Interior Department is publishing a rule that would lift a 79-year-old executive order prohibiting oil shale development in Wyoming and Utah. On Wednesday, the Bush administration postponed regulations requiring cars and light trucks to be more fuel efficient by 2011.

“The rules will be viewed as pro-business, loosening existing regulatory limits or establishing less stringent standards,” said Tom Goldstein, an attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington. Bush may issue as many as 45 rules from the November 4 election to his last day in office on January 20.