By Natalia Castro
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been Republicans least favorite agency for quite some time. The Obama administration allowed the EPA to expand their influence far past nearly any other executive agency, imposing unprecedented regulatory burdens on the American people. Under the leadership of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s EPA has taken a dramatic turn to foster innovation within the private sector and remove stifling regulations from state and corporation.
The EPA made waves in October when it followed up the U.S. departure from the Paris climate accord and announced the Trump administration would be rescinding the Clean Power Plan, which placed strict regulations on carbon emissions. The removal of this rule removes significant economic burdens from U.S. industries and will allow coal to remain a resilient energy source for millions of Americans, but this is just one example of the EPA’s success during the Trump Administration.
Congress has worked with the EPA through the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to remove elements of executive overreach the Obama Administration pushed into place.
Under the CRA law, Congress has 60 legislative days to offer joint resolutions of disapproval for any executive regulation; once passed through both legislative branches and the presidency, the statute is nullified and cannot be reinstated without a vote of Congress. Congress has used the CRA to rescind 13 regulations under the Trump Administration, many dealing with overreach from the EPA and Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS).
Congress used H.J. Res. 38 to rescind the Stream Protection Rule. This rule targeted coal companies in order to “minimize disturbances and adverse impacts on fish, wildlife, and related environmental values” as deemed necessary by the EPA. This devastated industry across the country, the final rule of the regulation explains, “Of the $81 million in increased annual costs to industry, surface mining operations will bear an estimated $71 million, while underground mining operations will absorb $10 million.”
The House reaffirmed this interest in reining in burdensome EPA guidelines with the inclusion of section 113 of the omnibus bill. The bill passed the House on a 211-198 vote, including a provision targeting the Endangered Species Act due to their protections of the greater Sage Grouse. Despite not listing this bird as an endangered species, the EPA and the FWS have classified 5.5 million acres of privately owned land across 11 states as conservation areas.
Within the EPA, Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken steps to remove regulations that harm industry without producing significant benefit to the United States.
The Water of the United States Rule was imposed by President Obama to require a federal permit for any activity resulting in a distarch of water into small streams and wetlands, placing a new barrier to expansion for farmers across America’s heartland. President Trump ordered an executive order to review the rule in February 2017, and in July the EPA began with a proposed withdrawal.
Glider vehicles, old, heavy-duty trucks, were regulated out of existence in the Obama administration for causing too much carbon emissions. Pruitt has defended the trucks, “Gliders not only provide a more affordable option for smaller owners and operators, but also serve as a key economic driver to numerous rural communities.” Under his leadership, the EPA has taken steps to repeal these restrictions.
The Obama Administration also wanted the EPA to place additional restrictions on the hard rock mining industry. Pruitt concluded the environmental risks were not worth further federal requirements and refused to “impose an undue burden on this important sector of the American economy and rural America, where most of these mining jobs are based.”
Scott Pruitt has taken significant steps to return the EPA to its true purpose, to enforce the rules of Congress in order to protect the interests of the American people best. While the Obama Administration transformed the agency into one with overarching power, Pruitt is empowering the American people without the restrictions of the federal government.
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Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.
Reprinted with permission from NetRightDaily.com