Attorney Jeffrey Rosen’s nomination for deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is running into opposition from dozens of safety and environmental advocacy groups, who are urging senators on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to reject his nomination.
“Placing Jeffrey A. Rosen in charge of day-to-day operations at the Department of Transportation would be disastrous for American families, who under his regime would face higher risks on the road and in the air, more limits on their access to the courts, and irrevocable harm to their natural environment,” the groups said in a letter (PDF) sent to lawmakers.
As General Counsel of the DOT from 2003 to 2006, Rosen was responsible for the department’s regulatory program, and enforcement and litigation activities. He was with the Washington, D.C. firm Kirklandd & Ellis for 25 years.
“Rosen and his firm have represented companies and industry groups that have strong anti‐ regulatory agendas before the Department of Transportation, including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers,1 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,2 and Airlines for America, a group that has worked to privatize air traffic control,3” according to the letter. “His record shows that his views are closely aligned with theirs, and against the interests of American families.
“In 2005 testimony, Rosen explained that he had “overall supervision of the entire regulatory process” as general counsel to the Department of Transportation,4 and he boasted that he helped terminate or withdraw 180 potential rulemakings in that role.5 When the agency produced rules during his tenure, they often benefited industry rather than consumers. For example, in several safety standards issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), extraordinary language was added designed to curtail defective products civil actions brought by injured citizens against manufacturers in state courts.6”
The letter was signed by Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), Coalition for Clean Air, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Earth Action, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, The Clean Power Campaign, Trauma Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists, among others.
It said Rosen has “a history of hostility” toward regulations that safeguard the public.
“In private practice, Rosen represented the Chamber in challenging tailpipe pollution rules and challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gases from motor vehicles endanger human health and welfare by contributing to climate change.”
The groups are urging the senators to vigorously oppose Rosen’s nomination.
1 Myron Levin & Alan C. Miller, Industries Get Quiet Protection from Lawsuits, L.A. TIMES, Feb. 19, 2006, http://articles.latimes.com/2006/feb/19/nation/na‐preempt19.
2 See Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. v. E.P.A., 684 F.3d 102, 107 (2012).
3 Alex Daugherty, Trump’s Pick for Deputy Transportation Secretary Did Legal Work for Airline Lobbyists, MCCLATCHY, Mar. 14, 2017, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics‐government/white‐house/article138459268.html.
4 Hearing on the Impact of Regulation on U.S. Manufacturing: Spotlight on Department of Labor and Department of Transportation Before the Subcomm. on Regulatory Affairs of the H. Comm. On Govt. Reform,
109th Cong. 46–47 (2005) (testimony of Jeffrey A. Rosen) https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG‐109hhrg23627/pdf/CHRG‐109hhrg23627.pdf.
6 See, e.g., Cindy Skrzycki, Agencies' Rules Quietly Enable Tort Reform, WASH. POST, Sept. 27, 2005, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp‐dyn/content/article/2005/09/26/AR2005092602022.html.