On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” which established a federal policy “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens” on the American people.
Section 3(a) of the EO directs federal agencies to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force (Task Force). One of the duties of the Task Force is to evaluate existing regulations and “make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification.” The EO further asks that each Task Force “attempt to identify regulations that:
(ii) are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
(iii) impose costs that exceed benefits;
(iv) create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
(v) are inconsistent with the requirements of section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriates Act, 2001 (44 U.S.C. 3516 note), or the guidance issued pursuant to that provision in particular those regulations that rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard of reproducibility; or
(vi) derive from or implement Executive Orders or other Presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.”
I wrote to Caryn Muellerleile, of the EPA Office of Policy requesting further information on the task force and how it would conduct its review. Here is my email, followed by her response.
Note that Ms Muellerleile failed to address my question regarding the qualifications of the task force members, nor the scientific techniques they would emply to judge the merits of the reulations. However, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wrote to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in April 2017 demanding answers to this and other questions regarding Pruitt's planned review. They pointed out that Pruitt has placed political appointees in the position of adjudicating what is and what is not sound science, and wrote;
"Neither you, nor Associate Administrator for Policy Samantha Dravis, nor Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson, nor Deputy Chief of Staff Byron Brown, nor Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy Brittany Bolen, have any meaningful scientific background. We therefore fail to see how your background will allow for the proper evaluation of the rigorous methodologies and quality of evidence that are the foundations of sound science.”
|Sen Sheldon Whitehouse pointing out SDcott Pruitt's ties to the fossil industry during confirmation hearings|
Those of you wishing to comment on Pruitt's directive might reiterate this point.
The Schatz/Markey/Whitehouse letter also demanded that Pruitt provide written assurances on the following points: