November 28, 2021

Volume XI, Number 332


Executive Order Seeks to Curtail Rulemaking Actions

On January 30, 2017, President Trump began his second week in office by signing an executive order that requires two federal regulations be identified for elimination for every one regulation that is passed. The executive order aims to fulfill one of the president’s campaign promises to reduce the number of regulations affecting small businesses and large industries. Additionally, the order continues the president’s centralization of executive power in the White House by enlisting the Office of Management and Budget to review regulations that are proposed for the chopping block, as well as to grant exceptions to the executive order. 

In addition to the directive to review two regulations for elimination for every one regulation passed, the executive order directs agency heads to limit all funding for new regulations to zero dollars in fiscal year 2017. However, there are exceptions to funding limits for regulations that are required by law. Therefore, industry groups should not expect the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule-making procedures to completely halt during the course of the Trump administration. The federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other legislation mandate certain EPA rule-making procedures, and if rule-making is not instigated by EPA on such matters, citizen groups have historically filed suit to require the agency to initiate rule-making proceedings. 

Signature environmental regulations passed by EPA under President Obama, such as the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States Rule, were not required by legislation and, therefore, if the Trump administration seeks to modify those rules, the revised regulations are likely to be subject to the January 30 executive order.

The impact of the executive order is unclear at this moment, as the Trump administration is yet to issue guidance on how regulatory costs will be calculated, what qualifies as a new regulation, and to what extent legally required regulations (such as those mandated by the Clean Air Act) will be required to comply with the parameters of the executive order. 

©2021 MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 34

About this Author

David A. Crass agribusiness law attorney Michael best Law Firm
Partner; Industry Group Chair, Agribusiness, Food & Beverage

David’s practice sits squarely at the intersection of the food-water-energy nexus. His work in the areas of environmental, regulatory, agricultural production, manufacturing and distribution, and energy projects gives him the depth of experience necessary to counsel clients who will be feeding and powering a projected global population of nine billion people by 2050—at a time when resource scarcity and consumer confidence require an ongoing commitment to stewardship and sustainability.

David grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and maintains a presence in Michael Best’s Madison, WI...

Cameron F. Field, transactional practice attorney, Michael Best, law firm

Cameron brings a broad focus to his work advocating for clients in the agribusiness, food and beverage, and energy industries. He assists clients in navigating the state and federal regulatory process and evaluating strategic business decisions. Clients rely on Cameron for well-informed counsel on water and air permitting matters, as well as on hazardous waste reporting and liability questions. 

For example, Cameron advises on risk factors involved in the purchase, sale, and cleanup of contaminated properties. Relying on his...

Todd Palmer, Michael Best Law Firm, Environment and Natural Resources Attorney
Partner, Practice Group Chair

For more than 25 years, Todd has helped numerous clients remain in compliance with all aspects of the complex and dynamic Clean Air Act regulatory program. His extensive knowledge of and experience with Clean Air Act matters includes obtaining air emission control permits, planning future activities to minimize the expense of regulation, and the defense of allegations that a company may have violated Clean Air Act requirements.

Leah Hurgten Ziemba, Michael Best Law Firm, Agribusiness and Energy Attorney
Partner, Industry Group Chair

Leah takes a big-picture approach in advising clients as they face challenges on environmental, food safety, and regulatory compliance issues. She draws on experience gained in cases involving the EPA, FDA, and other public agencies.

Leah’s success as a counselor, litigator and negotiator reflects her combination of subject matter expertise, industry knowledge, and creativity. Her work includes:

  • Investigating, assessing, and remediating vapor intrusion issues at sites with historic solvent contamination...