The specifications of which rules apply will play a key role in the Trump administration’s defense of the order in a lawsuit filed on Feb. 8 by a trio of advocacy groups claiming it unconstitutionally impacts environmental regulations.
“This order imposes a false choice between clean air, clean water, safe food and other environmental safeguards,” the Natural Resources Defense Council Rhea Suh said regarding the lawsuit.
What’s not covered?
The guidance does not apply its coverage to any regulation that affects only other federal agencies; have military, national security or foreign service implementations; or are related to agency organization, management or personnel rules.
Income transfer regulations — such as Pell grants or Medicare spending — are also not covered by the Trump order, unless they impose rules on non-federal entities, in which case agencies can consult with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for further guidance.
The order is also limited to agencies required to submit regulatory actions to OIRA for review. Independent agencies are not covered under the rule, but are still encouraged to pursue cost-saving deregulation.
What can be waived?
The guidance states that, “Emergencies addressing critical health, safety or financial matters or for some other compelling reason, may qualify for a waiver from some or all of the requirements of Section 2.”
This waiver also could provide agencies with a valid avenue to exempt several regulations, much like the exemptions of the recent federal hiring freeze. Agencies can also shift cost savings from one component to another.
The Jan. 30 order aims to make agencies pursue a zero net cost strategy, where the incremental costs of applying a new regulation is offset by the deregulation of two other rules.