One year into the Trump administration, many are still wondering what is going to happen to environmental laws. Common questions we hear from our clients include:
“What is going to happen to environmental laws with this new administration?”
“Do you think my reporting requirements are going to change?”
These are very good questions and just like most regulatory compliance, not easy to answer. The simple answer is no, most regulations are not going to change and your facility should proceed with the current regulations regarding environmental compliance requirements.
The more complex answer is first understanding what the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is, who is in charge of it and how can it change? Most federal OSHA and EPA regulations are written into the CFR.
Definition: “The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the US.”
Federal regulations are specific details, directives or requirements with the force of law enacted by the federal agencies necessary to enforce the legislative acts passed by Congress. Agencies, like the FDA, EPA, OSHA and at least 50 others, are called "regulatory" agencies because they are empowered to create and enforce rules - regulations - that carry the full force of a law. Federal regulations created by the regulatory agencies are subject to review by both the president and Congress under Executive Order 12866 and the Congressional Review Act. Under the CRA, the regulatory agencies are required to submit all new rules the leaders of both the House and Senate.
What does all of this mean? Any regulations that were passed prior to the current administration are still in effect. Any changes to the regulations must be approved by the legislative and executive branch of the government. However the Senate can review rules that have yet to be implemented, which allows for some movement (Stream Protection Rule and the Disclosure Rule are two examples of this) and rule can be delayed. The current administration has expressed a desire to limit some of the regulations that it considers to be the obligation of individual states to implement, not the federal government.
MMA Environmental will continue to monitor these changes and the potential impact on our clients. As always, our goal is to communicate any regulatory changes well in advance so that your facilities can plan accordingly. Until changes occur, it is business as usual.