A version of this post was originally published on Legal Planet.
What are the key things to watch for in 2019 in the environmental area?
- According to the Trump administration’s schedule, three big rules should be issued in March: repeal of the Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS), repeal and replacement of the Clean Power Plan, and the freeze on fuel efficiency standards. This seems very ambitious to me, especially for the last two where there are major technical issues to be resolved. EPA has already lost a couple of weeks due to the shutdown, and there’s every likelihood that will continue. But even with slippage, the rules are likely to come out sometime next year. There will also be movement on a bunch of other rules, such as the effort to loosen restrictions on methane emissions.
- In addition, just prior to shutting down, EPA proposed a re-do of the toxics standards for power plants. The proposed rule would not change the standard, which would be pointless now that the industry has complied. Instead, EPA will try to establish a precedent for disregarding co-benefits (health benefits involving other pollutants, besides the one being directly regulated).
- More environmental rules will be hitting the courts. That will include the regulations mentioned above. It’s very unlikely that the legal issues posed by these major regulations will be resolved in 2019, but there will
As I documented in my most recent post, 2018 was an active year for regulatory policy, bringing several notable controversies, milestones, and developments. For those who follow this area, 2019 promises to be just as lively and momentous. Indeed, it appears that the dynamics that spurred much of the regulatory policy-related action in 2018 – namely, the high priority that the Trump administration has placed on corrupting our system of regulatory safeguards, and the accompanying political polarization around the issue
As 2018 ends and we take stock of the developments in workers’ rights over the first half of the Trump administration, there is little forward progress to report. This administration, acting with minimal to no congressional oversight, has consistently neglected to protect America’s workers, instead rolling back and delaying numerous Obama-era regulations and safeguards, ignoring emerging hazards from climate change and new technologies, and restricting traditional inspection and enforcement in favor of self-reporting and compliance assistance. Instead of focusing on