Deregulatory Agenda Still in Flux

Since many heard (or read about) President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday (1/30), a few policy wonks have taken a look back at Trump’s deregulatory agenda.  One author, Cary Coglianese, in his piece opines that “far fewer regulatory obligations have been lifted than most assume or have been led to believe”. However, he does point out the slowdown in 2017 in the development of new economically significant rules (an impact of $100 million per year or more).

For environmental regulations, EPA Administrator Pruitt has proposed to repeal and/or two important regulations – the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). However, this deregulatory agenda hasn’t impacted drinking water. In fact, EPA Administrator Pruitt has talked about a “War on Lead” in a couple of public forums recently that could provide more momentum for EPA to propose the Long-Term Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule in a timely manner – noting that the financial and policy solutions to pay for the full replacement of over six million lead service lines are not clear at this time. Additionally, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) has an anti-backsliding provision in Section 1412(b)(9) that’s part of the Section for EPA’s Six-Year Review of Drinking Water Standards. It’s not clear that any drinking water standards could be repealed due to this section of the SDWA, and where the water sector ends up with drinking water regulations a few years from now is anyone’s guess.