Trump’s Executive Order on Regulatory Costs is Not Only Arbitrary; It is Also Against the Law

Read the full story from the Climate Law Blog.

On Monday, President Trump issued an executive order directing all agencies to control regulatory costs by: (1) ensuring that the “incremental costs” of all new regulations that are finalized this year, including repealed regulations, are no greater than zero, and (2) identifying two regulations for potential repeal for every new regulation that is proposed. The order does not mention the benefits of regulation, nor does it specify how incremental costs should be calculated. It also fails to describe how agencies are supposed to comply both with the order and with their statutory mandates.

The lack of explanation is telling. Indeed, the order suffers from a fundamental problem: It conflicts with statutory requirements and undermines agencies’ abilities to implement those requirements faithfully. Agencies do not simply regulate for the sake of regulation – each regulation is aimed at implementing a specific provision of a statute passed by Congress. In many cases, agencies are either prohibited from considering costs or required to consider both costs and benefits when issuing regulation. And statutes do not typically, if ever, permit agencies to consider the aggregate costs of regulations across all of their programs when issuing a particular regulation.

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