Biden Issues Two Executive Orders to Rescind Trump-Era Environmental Regulations

Filed in Environment by on January 26, 2021 0 Comments

Immediately after taking office, President Biden signed two executive orders that signaled his intention to take a comprehensive review of all the Trump administration’s deregulatory actions concerning climate change, energy efficiency and the environment.

The first executive order, Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulations, repeals a Trump Administration’s executive order (E.O. 13771, entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”) that limited the growth of federal regulations across the entire federal government.

E.O. 13771 established an annual regulatory budget for each federal agency that set a cap on the total cumulative economic impact each federal agency’s regulations could have on the entire U.S. economy. To stay under these caps, federal agencies were also encouraged to rescind two existing regulations whenever they proposed a new federal regulation.

A second Trump era executive order (E.O. 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”) directed federal agencies to create internal task forces to identify and solicit the public’s input (including regulated entities) on outdated, overly burdensome, or inefficient existing regulations to be eliminated.

The Biden administration has described the repealing these two Trump deregulatory executive orders as “removing needless obstacles to regulating in the public’s interest.”

Reviewing Current Regulations

Another Biden administration executive order entitled, Protecting Public Health and the Environment & Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis, contains a provision requiring the incoming head of each federal agency to review and potentially eliminate all regulations issued during the Trump administration that cover climate change, public health, environmental or species protection, or federal energy efficiency standards.

In addition, the executive order directs incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue opportunities before the federal courts to request stays of Trump environmental rules not yet enacted. As for effective rules currently under litigation by environmental groups or the even the states, the executive order encourages federal courts to voluntarily remand these Trump-era environmental rules back to federal agencies for further review and potential removal.

While the executive orders identify some Trump environmental regulations by name, Biden’s directive to the incoming agency heads is to develop their own comprehensive “lists” of Trump-era regulations. Some could be withdrawn during the first a year of the Biden administration, while other Trump regulations — presumably those rules already finalized and effective like the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers narrower regulatory definition of the term “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act — could be withdrawn before the end of the Biden administration’s first term.

The list of Trump-era environmental rules slated to be withdrawn are due to key officials within the Biden White House within 30 to 60 days. NAHB will continue to monitor the situation closely.

For more information, contact Michael Mittelholzer.

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