- The White House has directed federal agencies to cease finalization of new regulations until President Trump's incoming administration has leadership in place to approve the work being done, The Washington Post reports.
- That means four efficiency regulations finalized in the waning days of the Obama administration will not yet be published in the Federal Register—though the new rules, largely uncontroversial, may still move forward. While the action may alarm climate activists, the Obama administration issued a similar memo when he came to office eight years ago. CNN calls it a "fairly standard move."
- The new administration has also overhauled the White House's energy pages, removing some information on climate change. Obama's work on climate science has been preserved, however, on a White House archive page.
The Obama Administration issued several new efficiency regulations in late December, non-partisan efforts that still needed to be published in the Register to be finalized. But a 45-day waiting period meant they could not be published until the Trump administration came into office, setting up the current situation.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus sent out a memo directing agencies to cease publishing new regulations in the Register, including possibly withdrawing some poised for publication. That means regulations covering portable air conditioners, walk-in coolers and freezers, commercial boilers and uninterruptible power supplies, are all now being reconsidered.
The Obama administration also issued new regulations on pool pumps in December, but those rules will be finalized under a different process—though one that will still allow the Trump administration to have final say.
According to the Department of Energy, the new standards for five product classes could potentially save between $15 billion and $35 billion. The Obama administration has used appliance standards to try and reduce carbon emissions by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030.
But Trump campaigned heavily on striking down what they described as burdensome regulations and redirecting the country's energy focus to reviving production of fossil fuels. Soon after taking the oath of office, Trump's White House web site appeared to remove pages focused on climate science and global warming. A new energy page titled An America First Energy Plan appeared, and focuses on striking down regulations and "refocusing" the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority," the site says. "President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water."
While energy efficiency standards have typically pulled support on both sides of the political aisle, some of the most conservative Republicans are opposed to standards promulgated by the Obama administration. The House Freedom Caucus previously sent to then-candidate Trump a list of regulations they want to see rejected, including efficiency standards for housing, appliances and power supplies.
Other work done by the Obama administration may be here to stay, but Trump's team will likely not seek to expand the efforts.The EPA, last May, finalized rules to limit methane emissions from new and heavily modified oil and gas facilities, part of a goal to cut methane emissions 40% to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025. Those rules also kicked off a process to consider limits for existing facilities, but given Trump's pledge to minimize regulation, that now appears unlikely.