Various industry groups in the United States are pushing The Trump Administration for a faster permit process and simplified environmental regulations.
Many of these groups are associations representing industries such as drilling, mining, refining and building. These associations have submitted hundreds of pages of documents to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Commerce Department, outlining certain regulations they wish to see either eliminated entirely or at least significantly modified.
The EPA has been the target of most of these suggestions. President Trump has already signed executive orders in just his first few weeks in office geared toward cutting regulations that he believes to be a burden on certain industries. Many Obama-era protections to the environment have been rolled back or eliminated, including those geared toward combating climate change. Most recently, Trump backed out of the Paris Climate Accord in a move he justified as being beneficial for American businesses.
The reforms implemented on EPA regulations have been the subject of public debate, with many individuals and groups regarding the proposed (and implemented) rollbacks as possible threats to public health and the environment. However, many business groups have embraced the plans to boost growth across numerous industries.
The focus among industry groups
Numerous industry organizations have been focused on making the permitting process for installations and facilities easier. For example, some have pushed for the Trump Administration to decline a previously planned tightening of ozone rules laid out in the U.S. Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Opponents of these stricter regulations claim they would make it difficult to implement new operations and facilities.
Other groups have said that certain requirements under the Clean Air Act as being redundant and unnecessary. These include the Maximum Achievable Control Technology rules, New Source Performance Standards and the National emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.
According to a representative from the National Association of Manufacturers, industry groups had one proposed change that would have replaced eight different regulations with one that achieves the same result environmentally, but at a reduced cost for compliance.
On the other hand, environmental groups and others have voiced their concerns regarding how such changes could undermine environmental protections. The EPA’s official comment period for these proposals ended May 15.
Business groups will continue to push for fewer regulations under the new administration, and the administration appears to be willing to listen. There is the potential for growth in some industries, but businesses and individuals in others may wonder what sort of environmental impact these changing regulations could have.
Tom Bolt is Managing Attorney at BoltNagi, a widely respected business and government relations law firm focused on serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.