EPA touts Pruitt’s first year of rollbacks

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 6, 2018

U.S. EPA released a report yesterday touting Administrator Scott Pruitt’s accomplishments during his first year, with particular emphasis on regulatory rollbacks.

The report reads like a laundry list of actions that have irked environmentalists while pleasing industry, punctuated with Pruitt’s familiar refrains of “cooperative federalism” and “rule of law.”

“In just one year, we have made tremendous progress implementing President Trump’s agenda by refocusing the agency to its core mission, restoring power to the states through cooperative federalism, and adhering to the rule of law,” the EPA boss said in a statement.

“The American people can now trust that states and stakeholders will be treated as partners, and regulations will provide clarity, not confusion,” he said.

EPA finalized 22 deregulatory actions that could save Americans more than $1 billion in regulatory costs, according to the report.

That figure is in line with the administration’s second regulatory plan, which noted that Cabinet-level agencies had rolled back 22 rules for every new one issued, far exceeding Trump’s original two-for-one goal (E&E News PM, Dec. 14, 2017).

“It’s very consistent with President Trump’s approach to what I think most people … believe is an expansive regulatory state,” said Tim Doyle, vice president of policy and general counsel for the American Council for Capital Formation.

James Goodwin, senior policy analyst with the Center for Progressive Reform, said he thinks it’s unfair to count all 22 deregulatory actions as finalized, because some face challenges in court.

“EPA has been so hellbent on delaying things that they cut corners on process,” Goodwin said. “They’re very sloppy. So a lot of these so-called deregulatory actions that are supposedly finalized aren’t going to survive judicial review.”

Separately, EPA launched a webpage in January listing specific deregulatory actions under development or that have been completed (E&E News PM, Jan. 10).

The page lists the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, which both face legal challenges, as “under development.”

The report also highlights that the agency has eliminated seven Superfund sites from the National Priorities List, acted on 322 state implementation plans, awarded $25 million in water infrastructure loans and cleared its backlog of new chemical submissions.

Environmental groups, meanwhile, have been seizing on Pruitt’s first year as a chance to blast his record.

The Sierra Club tweeted last month, “@EPAScottPruitt just had his first anniversary at @EPA. He’s spent the past year systematically attacking protections that keep Americans safe.”