Flood Management, Energy Efficiency Standards Among the “Ghost Rules” Quietly Withdrawn by Trump Administration

Read the full post at the Climate Law Blog.

Shortly after President Trump took office, the White House issued a memorandum imposing a freeze on new and pending regulations. The memorandum directed agencies to delay the effective date of rules that had already been published in the Federal Register and to withdraw regulations that had been submitted to the Office of the Federal Register but not yet published. The purpose of the freeze is to ensure that Trump and his appointees will have the opportunity to review these regulations before they are finalized and take effect.

One significant problem with the regulatory freeze is the lack of transparency with respect to the withdrawn rules. The delayed rules are relatively easy to identify because they were published in the Federal Register – as reported on our Climate Deregulation Tracker, they included energy efficiency and renewable fuel standards. But this is not the case for the withdrawn rules. These so called “ghost rules” were withdrawn from the rulemaking process without any public notice or explanation. Some of them had gone all the way through the rulemaking process – the proposed rule was published, public input was accepted, and the rule was finalized – before being withdrawn. Others were at the proposal stage, which meant that there was no prior proposal published in the Federal Register and no way for the public to view these rules before they were withdrawn.

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