Within days of being inaugurated in January 2017, President Donald Trump issued two executive orders to fulfill campaign promises he had made to reduce environmental regulations he said were unnecessarily reducing economic growth.
Executive Order 13771 required agencies to cut two regulations for every new regulation they introduced. It was soon followed by Executive Order 13777 mandating each agency establish a task force and designate an officer to implement the first executive order.
Two years after those executive orders were issued, an internal watchdog report shows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exceeded the president’s regulatory reduction goals, removing more regulations per regulation issued in fiscal year 2017 than any other federal agency.
Well Beyond the Call
EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report in August evaluating the agency’s response to Trump’s executive orders.
The OIG found in 2017 and 2018 EPA issued just four new regulations and cut 26 regulations, far exceeding the two-to-one ratio Trump had mandated. OIG also determined EPA’s deregulatory efforts have saved taxpayers more than $96 million, roughly $40 million more than the regulatory savings goal the Office of Management and Budget had set for the agency.
“The EPA has successfully and fully implemented the requirements of the Executive Order,” said Henry Darwin, then EPA’s acting deputy administrator, in a memo commenting on the report.
It’s refreshing to see an executive agency exceeding expectations, says Jay Lehr, Ph.D., a senior policy analyst for the International Climate Science Coalition.
“Politicians typically overpromise and underperform, so it’s refreshing to see one officeholder and one agency doing the opposite for a change,” Lehr said. “At President Trump’s behest, EPA has protected the environment while lessening the burden on the U.S. economy.
“Trump promised no more than one new regulation for every two dismantled, and in fact EPA exceed this ratio by eliminating six regulations for every new one finalized,” said Lehr. “EPA accomplished this only after careful study to determine the regulations being eliminated were accomplishing nothing of value for the environment or the public despite costing the American people millions of dollars annually.”
Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.
“EPA Exceeded the Deregulatory Goals of Executive Order 13771,” Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, August 9, 2019: https://heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/epa-exceeded-the-deregulatory-goals-of-executive-order-13771