- The Trump administration this week published its first regulatory agenda, outlining how it will roll back energy rules and environmental protections, including the Clean Power Plan, Waters of the U.S. rule, methane limits on oil and gas drilling, and others.
- According to the White House, the agenda "represents the beginning of fundamental regulatory reform" that will target ineffective, duplicative and obsolete rules.
- Litigation surrounding the Clean Power Plan was halted in the spring by the D.C. Circuit Court at the request of the White House while the administration determined how it would proceed.
The first "Unified Agenda" published by the Trump administration lays out the formal rationale and schedule for rolling back some regulations, but there is little new in terms of substance.
For the Clean Power Plan, the action explains it will be withdrawn "on grounds that it exceeds the statutory authority provided under section 111 of the Clean Air Act." No schedule was given, but a full rulemaking process must take place to replace the carbon regulations, including a comment period, draft and final rules.
If the administration seeks to replace the CPP, new rules could take the shape of a regulatory package that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt drafted in 2014 as Attorney General of Oklahoma. That plan slimmed down the regulations into a less-stringent package that would require only small efficiency improvements to existing coal plants.
Also on the block is the Clean Water Rule, otherwise known as WOTUS, and limits on methane emissions at drilling sites.
At the Department of Energy, a range of efficiency standards are up for review, including those covering manufactured housing, residential clothes washers, fans, blowers, heat pumps and air conditioners.
The courts could prove a limiting factor on Trump's ability to scale back regulations. In April, the EPA called for a delay to the implementation of Obama-era methane rules on gas drilling operations, but the D.C. Circuit struck its action down, saying it must enforce the rules until they are replaced with new ones.
According to the Agenda, a final action on methane emissions is scheduled for next month, along with new rules on wastewater from power plants. Environmental groups have vowed to challenge the regulatory rollbacks in court.
"This Agenda represents the beginning of fundamental regulatory reform and a reorientation toward reducing unnecessary regulatory burden on the American people," the document explains. "By amending and eliminating regulations that are ineffective, duplicative, and obsolete, the administration can promote economic growth and innovation and protect individual liberty."