States ask Trump to restrain but not eliminate EPA

Source: Dylan Brown, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, November 18, 2016

During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump assured coal miners and other energy workers that he would repeal President Obama-era regulations. Photo courtesy of AP Images.

Emboldened by Donald Trump’s campaign promises to gut U.S. EPA, five state environmental agencies asked the president-elect to give them more authority.

The heads of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, North Dakota Department of Health and Environment, and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection penned a letter to Trump yesterday.

“Our country still needs the EPA, but not the EPA of recent years,” they wrote.

The letter accuses the Obama administration of “systematically” undermining cooperative federalism, a state-first regulatory framework they argue is at the heart of bedrock environmental laws like the Clean Water Act.

“Your administration can avoid the agenda-driven federal regulatory process that has stifled our country’s competitiveness,” the state environmental leaders wrote.

The Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, state officials argued in the letter, are “glaring examples of federal overreach.”

They requested a moratorium on proposed and new regulations of that ilk. They called on the federal government to work with states on rulemaking to avoid “wasteful duplication of effort.”

The letter said, “That process will run more smoothly once the EPA shifts from being an autocrat to being our partner.”

It expressed confidence in Trump’s transition team. “We look forward to working with your administration in order to protect our environment,” regulators wrote, “while bringing economic prosperity to all Americans.”