On Friday, February 24, 2017, President Trump signed another Executive Order (EO) aimed at identifying and eliminating federal regulations that burden businesses. The EO states that “[i]t is the policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.”
The EO requires each federal agency head to designate a Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO), tasked with overseeing “the implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies to ensure that agencies effectively carry out regulatory reforms.” These “initiatives and policies” include the January 30, 2017 “one-in-two-out” EO requiring federal agencies to repeal two regulations for every new one it promulgates.
The EO also requires federal agencies to create Regulatory Reform Task Forces charged with evaluating “existing regulations . . . and mak[ing] recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification . . . .” Among other things the EO requires the Task Forces to attempt to identify regulations that negatively impact jobs, impose costs exceeding benefits, are inconsistent with regulatory reform policies and initiatives, “are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective,” or “derive from or implement [EOs] or other Presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.”
Taken together with prior executive directives issued to date, the Trump administration is focused on deregulation. This is likely to have a chilling impact on pending PHMSA rulemakings for liquid and natural gas pipelines.