Appeals Court strikes down Trump's tactic of sloppily delaying regulations

Trump wants to dismantle America's labor, environmental and safety regulations, but to do so, he needs to hold hearings, post notices, collect feedback and go through the whole long, cautious process of changing agency rules for the EPA and others.

Instead, the Trump administration has decided to just pretend the regulations don't have the force of law, and to delay implementing them, sometimes indefinitely, without doing any of the legal work that would lend a whiff of legitimacy to the tactic.

But a panel of DC appeals court judges have thrown a monkeywrench in this monkeywrenching, ruling that swamp-gator Scott Pruitt, head of Trump's EPA, was wrong to delay the rule limiting methane emissions from fracking rigs.

There are at least 39 Obama-era rules that Trump's administration of billionaires has refused to enforce, and the DC Appeals Court decision is a kind of starter's pistol for activist groups who are about to start racking up win after win after win, repeatedly kicking in the teeth of the walking Dunning-Krugers who think they can just Ayn Rand their way through government, insisting that a thing is so and having it be so.

Some of the delays are indefinite, pending the outcome of the reviews or court cases. Most last from a few months to a few years. The suspensions have often come at the request of affected industries. Although a new presidency always revisits its predecessor’s regulations, “what’s unique about the Trump administration is that we’re seeing so much sloppy work, in the sense of these stays that have absolutely no justification,” says Emily Hammond, a professor at The George Washington University Law School who is tracking the issue. “We’re seeing stays that aren’t sufficient to withstand judicial review.”

Environmental groups are jumping to take advantage of the weakness. On July 12 a coalition filed suit against the EPA for its recently announced delay in the implementation of new public health–based standards for ozone pollution, on grounds similar to the methane challenge. Another coalition of environmental groups has sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to reverse a two-year delay of another methane rule, this one governing emissions from drilling on federal and Indian lands.

Make America Wait Again: Trump Tries to Delay Regulations out of Existence [John McQuaid/Scientific American]

(via Naked Capitalism)

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