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Consumer Group Plans Suit On Government Tire Safety Policy

March 13, 2002

A leading consumer group plans to sue the government to block a planned tire pressuremonitoring rule, claiming the Bush administration plan would help the industry save money at the expense of safety, according to a report from Reuters.The legal threat reflects the frustration of auto safety and consumer groups with the Bush administrationon regulatory policy and key appointments that they claim favor industryinterests across the board.Although it would name the Department of Transportation (DOT), the suit would take direct aim at John Graham, director of regulatory affairs at the White House budget office. The little-known but powerful official, who must clear all rules, has been a target of consumer, labor and other groups who believe his principles on government regulation would weaken safety, environmental and health rules.Joan Claybrook, president of consumer group Public Citizen, said on March 12 the suit wouldbe filed in federal appeals court once the overdue tire pressure monitoring proposal is made by regulators. That is expected soon, according to Reuters.The case would center on Graham's decision to reject a proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a system to monitor pressure on all four of avehicle's tires. The suit would maintain that the White House overstepped its bounds when it used cost grounds as well as "speculation and infirm logic" on safety to dismiss the plan.Graham stood by the decision, saying incorrespondence and in congressional testimony that his office "fully supported" safety goals and was working to "produce the best possibleregulatory actions" given constraints on time and resources, according to Reuters.
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