The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a request for comment soliciting input from the public regarding existing environmental regulations that might be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification consistent with President Trump’s executive order regarding enforcing his regulatory reform agenda.
That order directed federal agencies to form a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to their agency head regarding repeal, replacement, or modification, and to specifically identify regulations that:
- Eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation;
- Are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
- Impose costs that exceed benefits;
- Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
- Rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard of reproducibility; or
- Derive from or implement executive orders or other presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.
EPA requests that any comments include supporting data; reference specific regulations; and provide specific suggestions regarding repeal, replacement, or modification. Comments are due May 15, 2017.
From the actions already taken by the Trump Administration and EPA Administrator Pruitt, any regulations addressing carbon emissions or climate change or otherwise impacting the coal industry are likely to face repeal, replacement, or modification. But what else is on the table? Arguably, any regulation that makes industrial development more expensive could be characterized as inhibiting job creation or imposing costs that exceed benefits (at least to the extent that business income is valued over environmental protection). Industries and environmental organizations alike would be wise to get on the public record regarding the regulations that should go as well as those that should stay.