These 5 EPA Regs Could Be The First In Trump’s Crosshairs

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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President-elect Donald Trump could eliminate these five Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations some studies have labeled as “job-killers” that do little for the environment.

Under President Barack Obama, the EPA made individual rules and regulations that cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Given the high costs, Republican lawmakers encouraged states not to implement such rules because they could be overturned by the courts or by a subsequent administration.

Ozone Rule:

The EPA required every county in America last year to cut ozone from 75 to 70 parts per billion by 2025. The agency did this even though a third of all Americans live in one of the 177 counties that haven’t yet met 2008 standards of 75 parts per billion. Simply ignoring EPA ozone standards isn’t an option either, as local governments risk losing federal highway funds, oil and gas operations may be forced to cease and manufacturers can shut down.

Several accomplished scientists have criticized the ozone rule’s benefits, as there’s no recorded case of anyone being killed by ozone. EPA claims the new ozone standards will avoid 710 to 4,300 premature deaths by 2025, but clinical tests cast doubt on this number.

Critics labeled the EPA ozone rules as the costliest regulations ever imposed on the U.S. economy. Previous EPA estimates for the current standard went as high as $25 billion annually. A study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that the EPA’s strictest ozone standards of 65 parts per billion could cause $1.7 trillion in total economic damage and kill 1.4 million jobs by 2040.

Methane Rule:

The agency does not list the amount of temperature increases averted in the rule’s press release, even though the rule exists just to limit global warming. Industry groups estimate the rule would only cause a temperature drop of 0.0047 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, an amount so small it couldn’t even be detected.

The regulation even has the potential to make global warming worse, as it will make producing natural gas harder, leading to more release of CO2 emissions — the primary driver of global warming — according to a 2014 EPA report. The report concluded that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 fell to their lowest levels in 17 years, largely due to hydraulically fractured natural gas out-competing coal as a power source

A report by the firm ICF International, which cited 75 scientific studies and EPA reports, concluded that methane emissions are declining in both absolute terms and per unit of natural gas produced, despite an enormous increase in the amount of gas produced.  Absolute methane emissions from natural gas fell by 15 percent between 1990 and 2014, and emissions per unit of natural gas produced dropped by 43 percent over the same period.

Clean Power Plan:

Clean Power Plan (CPP) would significantly increase the price of electricity in the U.S., and could cost the economy up to $479 billion by 2031, according to a study by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI). The average American’s electricity bill would rise by more than 10 percent as a result of CPP.

The CPP would force states to develop plans to slash carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced from power plants with the goal of reducing emissions by 32 percent by 2030. The plan would probably eliminate most cheap coal power plants and replace them with much more expensive and unreliable sources like solar and wind if it survives current legal challenges. This would further increase the price of electricity, which causes the price of everything made using electricity to also spike, effectively raising the price of almost everything.

Climate models created by the EPA and utilized by the Cato Institute show that even if CPP was fully implemented, it wouldn’t even accomplish its goal. The plan would only prevent an additional 0.019° Celsius of warming by the year 2100, an amount so small it cannot be detected.

Waters Of The United States:

The EPA has been attempting to expand its regulatory authority to include every body of water or area that could potentially hold water in the entire U.S., over the express objections of the U.S. Senate.

The EPA’s power grab would replace the phrase “Navigable Waters” in the Clean Water Act with “Waters Of The United States,” immensely expanding the agency’s authority. “Navigable” has been determined by the Supreme Court to only include rivers, lakes, bays, and other relatively large bodies of water. The EPA has been attempting to change the definition internally to regulate ditches and even deserts30 different states have expressed concern about the agency’s overreach.

Despite the failure to push the redefinition through the legislative process, the EPA continued where Congress declined to act and is attempting to make the change through the rule-making process.

The stakes are particularly high for farmers and ranchers, who would have to spend time and money obtaining EPA permits to continue using their own land. A redefinition has the potential to cause “costly atime-consuminging delays” in permitting new development, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. The average permit applicant spends 788 days and $271,596 on an application.

Fining Companies For Not Buying Nonexistent Fuel:

EPA has repeatedly fined companies for not purchasing cellulosic biofuels which don’t exist, using the Clean Air Act.

In 2010, the EPA instructed companies to burn 5 million gallons of certain biofuels which were not yet commercially available. In 2011, the EPA upped the mandate to 6.5 million gallons, but zero gallons were produce. In 2012, the mandate was for 8.5 million gallons, but only 25,000 gallons were produced.

After a federal judge demanded that EPA stop fining companies for not buying fuel that didn’t exist, the agency responded by raising the mandate next year to 14 million gallons.

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