Trump executive order to cut regulations likely to end up in court.

May 28, 2020

An executive order signed by President Trump directing agencies to slash regulations in order to boost the economy is likely to lead to a number of court challenges according to a May 25, 2020 report from The Hill.

The order signed May 19th (Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery) directs agency heads to “identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery,” highlighting that regulations could be permanently or temporarily lifted in order to fight the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

“I’m directing agencies to review the hundreds of regulations we’ve already suspended in response to the virus and make these suspensions permanent where possible,” he said.

But experts say speeding up the regulatory process or nixing public comment periods would likely be slammed in court unless the Trump administration can demonstrate their actions were necessary due to the pandemic.

“The problem there is those measures have to be directly related to addressing the pandemic. They can’t just be political priorities the Trump administration wants to speed up and get across the finish line in the first term,” said Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate with Public Citizen, pointing to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Trump administration told The Hill they believe the order will withstand legal challenge. “Statutes frequently allow an expedited regulatory process during urgent circumstances. The heart of what this administration is working to accomplish is clear: get our economy back to historic levels and get millions of Americans back to work,” the White House said by email.

The Trump order encourages the temporary suspension of regulations, a move already in use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In late March EPA issued a temporary order, though it has no set end date, announcing it would not fine companies that stop monitoring their pollution emissions — something required by both the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

The EPA says companies must document when they stopped monitoring and why the coronavirus was the cause to avoid fines down the road, but environmental groups and states have already sued, arguing the damage will have already been done, risking the health of residents near industrial operations.

What this means to you
An executive order signed by President Trump directing agencies to slash regulations in order to boost the economy is likely to lead to a number of court challenges. The problem is those measures have to be directly related to addressing the pandemic. They can’t just be Trump administration political priorities.

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