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Trump’s plan to systematically remove environmental protection

Trump’s 2020 plan: Change the rules on rules, Kelsey Brugger, E&E News reporter Greenwire: Friday, January 3, 2020 In the first half of 2020, Trump officials are hurrying to fundamentally change the way environmental rules are crafted.The administration plans to finalize regulations that could hamstring future presidents from making rules that rely on public health studies or fail to fully consider the benefits to Americans.

Trump’s regulatory plan released last fall showed hundreds of “economically significant” actions that the administration plans to finalize this year. Of those, at least 18 are noteworthy environmental rules — on air pollution and emissions to drilling and water quality.

But it’s Trump’s rules on the rulemaking process itself that could have the most lasting impact, according to experts.

For example, EPA’s proposed rule, “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” could restrict the scientific evidence used to write air pollution rules.

The Trump administration also plans to change the way cost-benefit analyses are calculated, weakening future limits on power plant emissions, for example. Both rules are expected to advance in early 2020.

“Those are foundational,” said Betsy Southerland, a former longtime senior EPA career staffer and member of the Environmental Protection Network. “If they are finalized, from now on all environmental rules cannot count co-benefits and cannot use public health studies, then they can paralyze future rulemaking while the litigation slowly winds forward.”

It would take considerable time for a new administration to reverse those rollbacks, and certain Trump actions could get lost in the morass. The Obama EPA similarly could not undo some George W. Bush-era Clean Air Act permits that allowed aging facilities to continue to operate.

But time is running out.

The administration is up against a May deadline: Any regulations completed after that point would be subject to review under the Congressional Review Act. If 2021 ushers in a new president and a left-leaning Congress, the pair could undo many of Trump’s controversial triumphs.

Generally, not much happens in the federal government during an election year, when administrations tend to enter “political lockdown.” But in the Trump era, “unprecedented” is typical. And Trump continues to campaign on aggressive deregulation………

n 2020, the administration is expected to complete several environmental priorities.

The changes most concerning to Southerland included the WOTUS rewrite, the Affordable Clean Energy repeal and other pesticide reviews that are being done under the Toxic Substances Control Act, she said. “They are racing to finalize all of the damaging rollbacks in 2020,” she said.

Other drafts expected to be released in the coming weeks or months include the National Environmental Policy Act, which Trump ordered to be revised to ease permitting requirements when he first entered office; the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which would revoke past findings of mercury emissions and other pollutants; and the clean car standards, a joint effort of EPA and the Department of Transportation.

That two-part effort would weaken Obama-era fuel economy standards and prevent California from setting its own stricter standards (Greenwire, Nov. 20, 2019).

The Trump mantra, in a large part, has simply been to undo what Obama did…….Twitter: @kelseybrugger Email:

January 6, 2020 - Posted by | environment, politics, USA

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