President Donald Trump has signed into law several measures aimed at easing regulatory burdens on the energy industry and rolling back Obama-era climate rules.
It is a stark contrast to his first 100-day presidency in which he promised to reverse environmental policies he believed would hurt the economy.
On Thursday, Trump signed a sweeping rewrite of the federal environmental protection law, including a provision that could allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block state regulations and regulations by the federal government that limit carbon emissions from power plants.
The legislation also allows the EPA to reject state and local regulations deemed to have been “unreasonably burdensome,” a provision in a similar bill that was vetoed by Trump in the waning days of his presidency.
The White House has not yet released details of the measure, but it’s likely to include language aimed at boosting domestic oil and gas production.
In January, the White House announced that it would be rolling back federal regulations that regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars, trucks, light-duty vehicles and aircraft.
The administration has since expanded the scope of the regulations to include everything from the construction of new coal-fired power plants to the construction and operation of solar and wind farms.
Trump’s order to slash the EPA’s budget was welcomed by the oil and natural gas industry, which has lobbied heavily for the EPA over the years.
“We’re very pleased that the president is putting the brakes on the Obama-Clinton EPA,” said John Kilduff, president of the Coalition to Save American Oil and Gas.
“There are now more than a half-billion Americans who rely on clean air to breathe, food and water to grow and prosper.
They should be protected.”
Trump has also signed several executive orders aimed at rolling back regulations on industries and companies he believes will hurt the country.
The first of those was a directive on Friday that instructed the EPA not to implement any new greenhouse gas regulations that were imposed on the industry before he took office in January.
The new directive will allow the agency to rescind certain regulations without taking into account the impact on the economy, a move that will be seen as a major victory for the industry.
“I have ordered that all executive orders, including those that affect the fossil fuel industry, be reviewed, reevaluated and rescinded in the same manner as any other executive order,” Trump said in a statement on Friday.
He added that he has “committed to fully repealing the Clean Power Plan and all other regulations put in place by the Obama administration.”
In a separate move, Trump issued an executive order on Friday directing the EPA “to review, rescind and replace any regulation that does not serve the public interest and the public welfare.”
The EPA has already begun reviewing the president’s order, which was first reported by The Hill.
“The order was designed to give the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed rules and allow the public to weigh in on whether they would be appropriate for the current environment and to help us determine the best path forward,” an EPA spokesperson told The Hill on Friday morning.
The order also calls for the agency’s staff to study the effects of climate change on the environment and its impact on energy production.
“These proposed actions will require the EPA and our stakeholders to assess the public’s concerns, and will require an analysis of the effects on our economy and national security,” the EPA spokesperson said.
“EPA staff will be meeting with the public, stakeholders and EPA employees to assess these impacts, and to develop recommendations on how to improve the process.”
Trump’s decision to rescind the climate rules has also faced opposition from many other agencies and businesses.
In his first month in office, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) sued the EPA for blocking a rule that would have required utilities to reduce the carbon emissions of their electricity generation.
The suit was later thrown out by the courts, but the EDF has since filed another case against the EPA.
“Trump’s actions have sent a dangerous message to the nation that climate change is real and can be addressed with science and action,” said EDF Executive Director Michael Brune.
“He has already taken unprecedented steps to put a stop to climate action.
He has also put the country at great risk by rolling back decades of progress on climate.”
Another lawsuit is ongoing against Trump over the EPA methane rule, which would have made it illegal to discharge methane from power plant boilers.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), which is tasked with enforcing the law, is also under attack from a lawsuit from the American Petroleum Institute (API), the industry’s lobbying arm, which says that Trump is using the Clean Water Act to try to gut the agency.
“President Trump’s administration is using executive orders and his executive orders are used to try and undermine our laws and regulations,” API President and CEO Rex Tillerson said in an email.
“Congress is the sole vehicle for enforcing the Clean Air Act.
It’s time for Congress to take action to restore the rule of law.”
Trump also signed two executive orders on Friday aimed at increasing energy