Wheeler forms panels to carry out Trump executive orders

Source: By Sean Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019

EPA is creating two working groups to help steer implementation of executive orders signed earlier this month by President Trump, according to a memo from Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Both orders “contain important implications” for EPA processes “that we will need to think critically about to implement,” Wheeler said in yesterday’s memo to top-level staff. “To that end, the EPA will be quickly standing up two working groups to address interpreting and applying the EOs,” he added.

One working group will be chaired by the Office of Policy; the other will be co-chaired by the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, according to the memo.

In the meantime, EPA staff “should continue normal operations on all issues affected by the EOs until further instructions from the working groups can be provided in the coming weeks,” Wheeler wrote. “We look forward to strengthening the rule of law at the EPA as we tackle this important challenge.”

Trump issued the orders Oct. 9 at a White House signing ceremony (E&E News PM, Oct. 9).

One is intended in part to shine more light on agencies’ use of guidance that doesn’t require the advance notice and opportunity for public comment that accompany a formal rulemaking; the other is aimed at ensuring “fairness” in the government’s handling of civil administrative enforcement actions.