Shortly after taking office, on February 24, 2017, President Trump, with the stated aim of "lower[ing] regulatory burdens…by implementing and enforcing regulatory reform," issued Executive Order 13777 on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda. The Executive Order specifically targets 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- are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;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- derive from or implement executive orders or other presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.
In response, Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), created a task force to evaluate existing environmental regulations and recommend "those that can be repealed, replaced or modified." The Administrator has directed the Offices of Air and Radiation, Land and Emergency Management, Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Water, Environmental Information, Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations, and Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to provide recommendations on specific rules to be repealed, replaced, or modified by May 15, 2017.
EPA recently issued a Federal Register Notice https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-04-13/pdf/2017-07500.pdf requesting that the public submit comments and suggestions regarding which regulations should be considered for repeal, replacement or modification. Given the broad criteria described above, just about any environmental regulation could be open to revision or repeal. Comments are due on May 15, 2017. EPA requests that any comments include supporting information and data along with recommendations on what actions should be taken. With every environmental regulation eligible for potential review, EPA will likely receive a vast quantity of comments, both written and verbal. In order for individual comments to “be heard” by EPA above the din of so many comments, we recommend complying with EPA’s request by providing timely comments which include significant detail and supporting data. We also recommend developing a strategy for making sure your comment does not get lost in the process.
As an additional step towards collecting information from the public, some individual EPA offices are holding "listening sessions," including virtual public meetings, to seek comments and feedback on the regulations that stakeholders believe should or should not be included in the agency's review. Upcoming events include sessions on TSCA, a session for the public for the Office of Water, and a public meeting by the Office of Land and Emergency Management. A current schedule for public participation is available at https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/regulatory-reform.