Trump Administration

Regulatory Review in Anti-Regulatory Times: The Trump Administration

Cost-benefit analysis turns out to make very little difference when the issue is rolling back regulations.

In theory, cost-benefit analysis should be just as relevant when the government is deregulating as when it is imposing new regulations. But things don’t seem to work that way. This is the first of two blog posts analyzing how costs and benefits figured in decisions during the past two years of unified GOP control of […]

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The Thin Gray Line

Few people understand the role that the bureaucracy plays in keeping us safe.

“Bureaucrat” is just another name for public servant. It has been said that a thin blue line of police protects us from the worst elements of society. But it is a thin gray line of underpaid, overworked, anonymous bureaucrats who protect society against more insidious risks — risks ranging from nuclear contamination to climate change to […]

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Trump’s Theory of Law

He probably doesn’t know he has a theory, but he does. It’s shaping his deregulatory agenda..

OK, using the word “theory” in connection with Trump may seem like a stretch.  But he does seem to have an implicit theory of law, which helps explain a lot of his approach to regulatory change. He’s also an intuitive believer in a strong form of the unitary executive. Theories of law can be classified […]

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The Power of the Purse

House Democrats have power to use appropriations process to stop Trump Administration environmental rollbacks

Dan has already posted about some of the big deregulatory steps the Trump Administration is likely to take in the next year. But the new Democratic majority in the House could have something to say about those steps, if they wanted to. Democrats will have even more leverage over spending bills than they had in […]

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The Year Ahead

Here’s what to expect environmentally.

What are the key things to watch for in 2019 in the environmental area? Regulations. According to the Administration’s schedule, three big rules should be issued in March: repeal of the Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS), repeal and replacement of the Clean Power Plan, and the freeze on fuel efficiency standards. This seems […]

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The Curious Case of EPA’s Mercury Cost-Benefit Decision

What, exactly, is EPA up to by changing the underlying analysis of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (known as the MATS rule), as it announced yesterday?  Is it the first step in gutting the use of cost-benefit analysis to support strong environmental regulations?  Is it a gift to Murray Energy in its lawsuit seeking […]

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Seven Bright Spots of 2018

Even in bad times, some things move in the right direction.

Yes, it was a grim year in many ways. But there actually were some bright spots. Here are just the high points, but if you want more detail, I’ve added links to relevant earlier blog posts at the end of this post on the website. Scott Pruitt. Pruitt resigned under fire. While his successor may […]

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What Does Trump’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rollback Mean for California?

It might not be what you’d think.

Last week, the Trump EPA announced its proposed rule to roll back the Obama administration’s 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule (“WOTUS Rule”).  Early in his tenure, Trump had announced his intent to repeal and replace the WOTUS Rule, and the proposal is, as billed, an attempt to replace the existing WOTUS Rule with […]

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Public Lands Watch: Sage Grouse Plans Move Forward

Administration takes next steps to scale back protections for iconic Western bird on federal public lands.

I’ve posted before about proposals by the Trump Administration to roll back protections for the sage grouse, an iconic species of the Western United States, from oil and gas development on federal public lands.  (The initial blog post with background is here; the specific proposed revisions are here.)  The Administration has now issued a final […]

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Two Years and Counting: Looking Forward

What’s the prognosis for the second half of Trump’s term?

In terms of regulatory policy, the second half of Trump’s term is shaping up to look a lot like Obama’s final two years in office.  Congress won’t be doing much to advance Trump’s environment/energy agenda, as was the case with Obama. So, like Obama, Trump’s focus will be on administrative action, particularly regulatory initiatives (or […]

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