Two for One Executive Order No Bargain

By the 314 Action Blog Team

Donald Trump began his second week in office by signing off on an executive order mandating the repeal of two existing federal regulations for every new regulation passed by federal agencies.  Trump was surrounded by small business owners Monday morning as he signed off on the "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs" order.   

While this move is  being touted as a means of stimulating small and large business growth, the imminent effects on departments that regulate the environment, health, and safety is highly troubling.  This administration has already shown a strong disregard for science through its stances on issues regarding climate change and vaccinations, and this vigorous push for deregulation endangers the fact based regulations designed to protect Americans by agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

Carlos Barria / Reuters

The current president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ken Kimmell,  called the executive order “absurd”, adding that “If, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to issue a new rule to protect kids from mercury exposure, will it need to get rid of  two other science-based rules, such as limiting lead in drinking water and cutting pollution from school buses?” This is a dangerous precedent that extends to every federal agency.

Regulations from the EPA on factors  such as automobile fuel efficiency and carbon emissions are crucial to preserving the environment and curtailing the damages of global warming. Recent FDA requirements on nutrition facts labeling are essential in the fight against obesity and related health risks. These are just a couple of the agencies that rely heavily on ongoing research to direct the implementation of new regulations, and the overarching requirement to remove two current regulations is an attack on the scientific community and a reckless order that flies in the face of existing knowledge and proven facts.   

The current administration and the GOP have staunchly advocated for federal deregulation, and this move in particular is being touted as “the largest cut by far, in terms of regulation” in history by Trump. This executive order continues a consistent pattern of rhetoric and decisions by the Trump administration that undermines the importance of research in policy making.  

Under the Administrative Procedures Act, the cutting of regulations requires the same level of legal and financial analysis and review as proposing new regulations. Additionally, the new executive order  requires that the cost of new regulations be offset by existing rules that will be rescinded. These procedures in conjunction with Trump’s promise to repeal existing policies such as Obama’s Clean Power Plan offer a grim outlook for the health and safety of the country under this administration. The indiscriminate mandate to eliminate two existing rules in order to be able to utilize potentially groundbreaking  research is illogical and irresponsible.