regulatory reform

When EPA Pays Lip Service to Public Comment, the Environmental Community Steps Up

Environment and public health advocates voice their concerns about EPA’s regulatory reform efforts under EO 13777

The public health and environmental communities took a small victory on an EPA conference call yesterday. In a three-hour public comment call that could have been dominated by industry seeking regulatory rollbacks, about half of the speakers supported strengthening environmental and public health protections. And many of them took EPA to task for such a …


CRA Update: What’s Been Overturned, What’s Still Standing?

Congress and Trump have done some major harm with this tool, but so far, not as much as feared.

We’re getting close to the deadline for Congress final chance to use its override authority under the Congressional Review Act to eliminate Obama Administrations regulations. The deadline for introducing new resolutions has already passed, and the deadline for voting ends around May 10. It’s not clear whether the Senate in particular will have time for …


The End of the Cost-Benefit State?

Trump is targeting regulations for elimination even if their benefits exceed their costs.

Some scholars have proclaimed a vision of the regulatory state centering on cost-benefit analysis (CBA). They mean that quantitive comparisons of costs and benefits is now the foundation of regulatory decisions, arguably blessed by the Supreme Court in one of Scalia’s last opinions. Environmentalists weren’t convinced this was a good idea.  Neither, as it turns out, is Donald Trump.  He doesn’t seem …


Trump’s Anti-Regulation Executive Order

Trump hates environmental, health, and safety regs. But we knew that.

This morning, Trump issued an executive order intended to kill all new regulations by creating impossible obstacles. It requires that an agency repeal two old rules and offset the entire cost of the new rule before it can do anything to protect public health, safety, or the environment.  It’s a terrible idea.  But at the …


Remember the Unitary Executive Theory? The GOP Platform Didn’t.

The platform casually blew off a key conservative belief.

The Republican platform contains a fascinating sleeper provision. It proposes to “transform the EPA into an independent bipartisan commission, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.” What makes this proposal so interesting is that it violates what used to be a core tenet of conservative belief: the unitary executive doctrine. Under the unitary executive doctrine, independent agencies …


Thom Tillis, the GOP Establishment, and the Environment

Tillis is not a Tea Party extremist on regulatory issues, but he’s also been no friend of environmental protection .

Thom Tillis’s victory in the North Carolina primary for U.S. Senate was widely seen as a victory for the Republican Establishment over the Tea Party.  What does this mean on environmental issues? In other word, where do “Establishment Republicans” stand on the environment? In Tillis’s case, lowering regulatory costs seems to be the highest priority. …



When it’s not busy passing yet another bill to repeal healthcare reform, the House of Representatives likes to pass an even more sweeping attack on effective government called REINS.  REINS is one of those bills that seems suspect from reading the title alone — it’s one of those gimmicky titles (“Regulations from the Executive in …


The Curious Case of Positive Train Control

In a recent column, George Will uses positive train control as a poster child for the evils of government regulation, while also complaining about the “democracy deficit” of agency regulations.  Actually, his two points contradict each other.  Positive train control  is really an example of democracy in action rather than bureaucratic excess — an automated …


The Illegality of a Regulatory Cap

A key part of Romney’s attack on “over-regulation” is his proposed regulatory cap.  If an agency wanted to issue a new regulation, a cap would require an agency to repeal a regulation (or package of regulations) with equal cost. To make this work, Romney would need new legislation from Congress, not just an executive order.  …


Romney’s Embrace of the House Republicans’ Anti-Environmental Agenda

A lot of Romney’s views about energy and regulation seem familiar.  There’s a reason for that.  Driven by the Tea Party, the House has passed numerous deregulatory laws, some of them multiple times. On average, the House Republicans averaged more than one anti-environmental vote for every day the House was in session in 2011. Romney …