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New Executive Order Called "Threat" to Environmental Safeguards

The EPA is scheduled to update regulations for copper and lead in drinking water this year. (Meir Roth/Pexels)
The EPA is scheduled to update regulations for copper and lead in drinking water this year. (Meir Roth/Pexels)
February 1, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Environmental advocates say a new executive order issued by President Trump threatens clean air and water safeguards and puts communities at risk.

It's called the Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs. But according to Martin Hayden, executive vice president of policy and legislation for Earthjustice, the order bypasses the benefits of the regulations entirely and looks only at the cost.

"And then, nonsensically, you're supposed to say, 'We want to protect people's air, then we better find a couple of rules to get rid of that are going to save polluters as much money as the new rule's going to cost them,'" he said.

In fact, the new order requires the elimination of two existing regulations for every new one proposed, with a net cost of zero or less.

But Hayden stresses that, when their benefits are considered, most regulations not only save money, they also save lives.

"You can't drink money and you can't breathe cash," he added. "And the people who get hurt are the families that have to shoulder the burdens of health costs or environmental disasters in their backyards."

And Hayden points to another problem with the executive order - getting rid of old regulations requires the same process as creating new ones.

He notes regulations that have gone through the public-comment and rule-making processes can only be repealed after a similar period of public comments and review.

"This is going to put a lot of pressure on undermining safeguards that are very important to all of us and frankly, gridlocking the agencies," he explained.

He predicts the executive order will create chaos at agencies as they scramble to create regulations that are legally mandated by laws like the Clean Air Act.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT