What Does CPSC Stand for These Days?

The CPSC seems to be floundering around in the deep end of the pool without a lifeguard to save it.  What was intended to be a quick, “under-the-radar” vote to flip-flop on a rule dealing with swimming pool drains now has turned into a big mess. 

Common sense and good administrative practice say that when you reverse course, you should find out who will be impacted by your action before you do it.  This is even truer when there is no impetus for the reversal and no rallying cry or public discussion prompting you to act.

In this case, many states and local jurisdictions have relied on the guidance we gave them 18 months ago and therefore we should have determined how a rule reversal would impact them.  Since the agency refused to ask for that information, I did, and I have been getting a number of troubling letters that detail the adverse safety impacts and the financial and regulatory burdens we will be placing on those jurisdictions by this action.  These letters make clear that, had we bothered to ask the public for their thoughts in the first place, they would have had plenty to tell us. Now we have gotten a letter from the Chairmen of the two Congressional Committees who oversee our activities asking why we are taking this action without even asking for public comment. 

This is not the only instance where the Commission is rushing to regulate before the effects of potential changes are understood.  We will soon be voting on the testing and certification rule.  Our own regulatory analysis tells us that this rule will be enormously expensive.  Recently, Congress told us to better consider the costs of testing, especially to small businesses.  In response, the majority plans to push out a final rule with a vague promise to perhaps amend it before it becomes final final, after we get input from the public on ways to reduce testing costs and burdens.  So, without getting the cost information Congress told us to get, we’re going to put the rule out, then maybe change it after people have already started relying on it, thus increasing the cost even further.

Rushing out rules without concern for the consequences is becoming standard operating procedure for this agency. Between our blind rush on the testing rule and our belly-flop of a hush-hush reversal on pools, with the enormous sums of other people’s money we’ll be wasting in both actions, CPSC might soon have to stand for Consistent Producer of Sunk Costs.

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4 Responses to “What Does CPSC Stand for These Days?”


  1. 1 Melvin Shepard November 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Commissioner Nord, as a pool operator for the pass 12 years, as well as wearing many hats in the aquatics industry this whole process with the VGBA is a mess. Many agencies operate pools on a very small budget and the typical pool does not generate that much revenue for the agency. So, when the CPSC starts telling us that must upgrade this or add that now our budgets increase without an increase in revenues. Many agencies cannot continue on this path. As the acticle in the November issue of Athletic Bussiness stated “over 1,500 families hae lost a loved one due to drowning this year alone.” What is being done to try and address the issue of drownings?

    The lawmakers making these discisions need to get input from those that operate aquatic facilities and not the people selling the drain covers. Who knows more about an issue at my facility, me or the salesperson that I order from?

    Thank you for your time.

  2. 2 Linda Wilson September 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    The CPSC’s rush to pass the Testing and Certification Rule without understanding the regulations impact to all stakeholders is reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi’s urging to pass Obamacare, where she advised, “You have to pass it and then find out what is in it!”

    Thank you, Commissioner Nord, for attempting to stop wasteful Regulatory madness.


  1. 1 It’s He-ere . . . « Conversations with Consumers Trackback on February 8, 2013 at 10:34 am
  2. 2 A Draining Exercise « Conversations with Consumers Trackback on April 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

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