President Trump issued an executive order titled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” on March 28, 2017, which outlines the following initiatives:
Review: The order requires agencies to (1) review existing regulations, orders, guidance, and policies that “potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources,” and (2) submit within 45 days a plan to carry out the review. This plan is first submitted to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Vice President, the Assistant to President for Economic Policy, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. A draft final plan that includes specific recommendations that “alleviate or eliminate aspects of agency actions that burden domestic energy production” is due within 120 days and must be finalized 180 days from March 28, 2017. Agency heads are charged with suspending, revising, or rescinding agency actions identified in their recommendations or publishing for notice and comment proposed rules that suspend, revise, or rescind those actions.
Rescission and Revocation of Existing Obama Era Environmental Policies: The order revokes the following executive orders, reports, and guidance:
- Executive Order 13653 of November 1, 2013 (Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change);
- The Presidential Memorandum of June 25, 2013 (Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards);
- The Presidential Memorandum of November 3, 2015 (Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment);
- The Presidential Memorandum of September 21, 2016 (Climate Change and National Security);
- The Report of the Executive Office of the President of June 2013 (The President’s Climate Action Plan);
- The Report of the Executive Office of the President of March 2014 (Climate Action Plan Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions); and
- The Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews, which is referred to in Notice of Availability, 81 Fed. Reg. 51866 (Aug. 5, 2016).
Clean Power Plan: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must review the Clean Power Plan and determine whether to initiate a new notice-and-comment rulemaking to suspend, revise, or rescind the plan. The Attorney General may, in his discretion, request a stay of Clean Power Plan litigation while EPA reconsiders the rule. The order does not specify how the EPA should rewrite the Clean Power Plan.
Carbon, Nitrous Oxide, and Methane: The Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon must disband, and documents outlining federal estimates for the social cost of carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide must be “withdrawn as no longer representative of government policy.” The provisions of OMB Circular A-4, which contains general guidelines on how to conduct cost-benefit analysis in rulemaking, must be followed to monetize the costs of greenhouse gas regulations.
Federal Land Coal Leasing Moratorium: The Department of the Interior shall commence coal leasing activities, and must amend or withdraw Secretarial Order 3338 “Discretionary Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Modernize the Federal Coal Program,” and lift any moratorium on federal land coal leasing related to Order 3338.
Review of Regulations Related to United States Oil and Gas Development: The order calls for the review, and potential rescission or rewriting, of several regulations aimed at reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations including:
- Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources, 81 Fed. Reg. 35824 (June 3, 2016);
- Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands, 80 Fed. Reg. 16128 (Mar. 26, 2015);
- General Provisions and Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights, 81 Fed. Reg. 77972 (Nov. 4, 2016);
- Management of Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights, 81 Fed. Reg. 79948 (Nov. 14, 2016); and
- “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation, 81 Fed. Reg. 83008 (Nov. 18, 2016).
Trump declares it is now the policy of the United States that agencies “immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.”