EPA Chief Urges Staff To Finish Obama’s Agenda Before Trump Takes Over
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urged employees to finish out the last weeks of the Obama administration “running” to finish implementing what they can of the president’s environmental agenda.
“As I’ve mentioned to you before, we’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy wrote in an email to staff after Republican nominee Donald Trump won Tuesday’s election.
“Thank you for taking that run with me. I’m looking forward to all the progress that still lies ahead,” McCarthy wrote, according to Politico.
Trump has promised to rollback EPA rules put out under President Barack Obama, including the agency’s signature global warming regulation, the Clean Power Plan. So, EPA and other regulatory agencies are likely to push through a slew of “midnight regulations” before Obama leaves office.
The Obama administration has already added 78,020 pages of new regulations to the Federal Register this year, according to the right-leaning American Action Forum (AAF), and more pages are likely on the way.
Every week this year, the administration imposed millions, and sometimes, billions of dollars in new rules. Agencies added $324 million worth of new regulatory costs in the week before the election, according to AAF.
So far, the Obama administration has added more than $148 billion in new regulations in 2016. The total federal regulatory burden costs the economy $1.8 trillion per year.
Trump, who initially promised to eliminate the EPA, now has plans to rein in the agency’s regulatory reach. Trump’s specifically targeted EPA global warming regulations and rules that hamper coal country.
Republican lawmakers also have plans to roll back environmental regulations they see as hamstringing the economy.
“Think about the laid-off coal workers now who see relief coming,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters in Wisconsin Wednesday.
“Think about the farmers here in Wisconsin who are being harassed by the EPA in the Waters of the USA. Think about the ranchers in the West who are getting harassed by the Interior Department or the laid-off timber workers. There is relief coming,” Ryan said.
Lawmakers have promised to push legislation to rein in the EPA, so agency staffers are hurrying to finish as many rules as they can. Some observers predict a huge wave of career staff departures from EPA when Trump takes office.
EPA staffers are working quickly to implement parts of the CPP, despite it being held up by the courts. The agency recently sent its model cap-and-trade plan and green energy credit program to the White House for review.
Other rules are coming down the pipeline as well. For example, EPA finalized a rule to limit smog from travelling across state borders Thursday.
Earlier this year, federal agencies hurried to finish new regulations before a May 23 deadline so it would be harder for a Trump administration to roll them back.
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