EPA identifies rules ripe for repeal; other agencies mum

Source: Maxine Joselow and Hannah Northey, E&E News reporters • Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017

U.S. EPA submitted a final report to the White House yesterday on rules that are ripe for repeal because they may hamper fossil fuel production, a spokeswoman said.

The agency submitted the document in compliance with President Trump’s March executive order on regulations, E.O. 13783, and subsequent Office of Management and Budget guidance, EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told E&E News.

“In accordance with EO 13783 and OMB’s implementing guidance, EPA will be submitting its report to the White House and making it publicly available,” Bowman said in an email.

In addition to quashing several of the Obama administration’s climate policies, E.O. 13783 directed all federal agencies to submit a roundup of existing policies that “potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy resources.”

Earlier this year, agencies submitted draft reports to the vice president, the OMB director and other top administration officials (Greenwire, July 26).

Clean Power Plan foe and conservative attorney Samantha Dravis led EPA’s efforts (Greenwire, April 4). While that agency confirmed its compliance with the deadline set forth by the executive order, others stayed mum.


The Department of Energy didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on its work to comply with the executive order, an effort being led by Dan Simmons, a political appointee overseeing the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

But sources suggested the agency could look to efficiency standards as one area for potential cuts and changes, and DOE has already moved to fast-track small export projects shipping domestic gas to foreign shores.

Any effort to shift the agency’s position on efficiency mandates could see pushback from advocates who have argued that the department has a history of overestimating the costs of rules.

“We review the substantial record that demonstrates that DOE has a track record of overestimating the costs of new standards,” wrote a coalition of efficiency groups in July.

The Department of Transportation and the Agriculture Department did not return multiple requests for comment about their submissions to the White House.

While OMB guidance exempted agencies that don’t deal with the development or use of domestically produced energy, a DOT spokeswoman previously told E&E News that the department was preparing a draft report.

DOT’s final document is expected to include recommendations for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and for the agency’s corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) program.

The agency is also reviewing guidelines for autonomous vehicles and the environmental review process for large construction projects.

Interior, FERC, NRC

When asked about a final report, Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Smith said, “We have no announcements at this time.”

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Mary O’Driscoll said FERC “will make public its actions related to an executive order as appropriate based on the executive order and the commission’s internal processes.”

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Scott Burnell said OMB’s guidance exempted independent regulatory agencies such as NRC, and it was not voluntarily preparing a final report.

Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, said he suspects some agencies may have missed yesterday’s deadline; their past compliance with executive orders has been scattershot.

“I’ve definitely seen that agencies have been missing those deadlines so far,” Narang said. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up missing this deadline, as well.”

Reporters Kevin Bogardus, Pamela King and Sam Mintz contributed.