Court Slaps Down The First Legal Challenge To Trump’s ‘1-In, 2-Out’ Policy

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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A federal court dismissed a coalition of liberal activists’ lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s executive order that two regulations be repealed for every new one that’s proposed, also known as the “1-in, 2-out” policy.

Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) argued Trump’s deregulation order was unconstitutional, but the D.C. district court ruled the plaintiffs failed to show Trump’s executive order caused any injury that would give them standing to sue.

Trump kicked off his first year in office with an aggressive deregulatory agenda, issuing an executive order in January 2017 requiring federal agencies to repeal two rules for every new one imposed.

The order specified that rules being cut must be equal to or greater than the new one being imposed. Trump’s order directs federal agency to make sure the net regulatory burden cost is no greater than zero.

Three groups filed suit in February, arguing Trump’s executive order would force agencies to repeal public safety and environment regulations. The court ruling is a setback for Trump administration opponents.

“Unfortunately, the court concluded that Public Citizen and colleague groups did not have standing to challenge the order at this time,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a statement.

“But our members are being hurt right now by Trump’s order, and the order is impeding our ability to advocate,” Weissman said.


While their suit has languished in court for for than a year, the Trump administration has been busy repealing federal regulations on energy, labor and financial institutions.

Trump issued 400 percent fewer major regulations in 2017 than President Barack Obama did in his final year in office, 2016. Major regulations are those affecting the economy by $100 million or more.

The White House announced in December they’d withdrawn 635 regulations, made 244 inactive and delayed another 700 for a compliance savings of $8.1 billion. Deregulatory efforts are expected to continue into 2018.

One of the biggest regulations rolled back by the Trump administration was the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed repealing the rule in September, angering environmentalists who see it as crucial to fighting global warming and meeting Paris climate accord targets.

EPA said repealing the rule would save $33 billion in avoided regulatory costs.

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