On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) called “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.”  The EO rescinds a host of climate change-related policies and rules instituted by the prior administration, including the Clean Power Plan and the Climate Action Plan. This new energy policy promotes all forms of domestic energy, and, as President Trump stated in the rollout, American energy dominance. The EO, through five policy statements, directs all federal agencies to identify and revise or revoke any rule that “burdens” the energy industry.

Stated simply, the policies are:

  • To encourage development of natural resources in a safe and clean manner.
  • To ensure electricity is affordable, reliable, safe, secure and clean, without regard to generating source.
  • To suspend, revise, or rescind rules that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources, including coal, gas, oil, hydro, and the use of any renewable fuel.
  • Agencies to take actions to promote clean air and water while “respecting the proper roles of Congress and the States.”
  • Environmental regulations must comply with the law and have greater benefit than cost, and must be developed with transparent, peer-reviewed science and economics.

With these policy goals, the EO changes the agenda of the Environmental Protection Agency and other executive branches—one that prioritizes affordable, domestic sources of energy, job creation, and economic growth.

The EO sets a short 180-day timeframe for all federal agencies to review and identify any agency actions that “burden” the safe, efficient development of domestic energy sources. The EO further defines “burden” as “unnecessarily obstruct, delay, curtail, or otherwise impose significant costs on the siting, permitting, production, utilization, transmission, or delivery of energy resources.”

The EO directs the revocation of numerous executive orders and actions from former President Obama, including all actions related to the Climate Action Plan.

The EO directs the EPA administrator to review the rules concerning limiting greenhouse gases from power generation and oil and gas facilities. The review shall determine whether the rules are consistent with the policies above and determine whether to revise or withdraw the rules.

The EO withdraws any document related to calculating the “Social Cost of Carbon” as no longer representative of governmental policy and disbands the interagency working group that was convened to study and report on the economic costs of climate change. Instead, any cost-benefit analysis of changes in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from regulations must be consistent with the 14-year-old guidance from the Office of Management and Budget.

Last, the EO revokes the latest restrictions concerning natural resource development and leasing on federal lands, including rules concerning methane releases and hydraulic fracturing. The EO directs the Secretary of the Interior to review and revise or rescind these latest restrictions.

As noted above, these actions are all to take place in the next six months. This is in line with the federal regulatory review order and infrastructure executive orders issued earlier this year.

If you have questions, please call any member of the Environmental Group.