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ICYMI: EPA Leads on Trump Deregulatory Agenda

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By EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler

July 28, 2020

Americans have carried the burden of our government's heavy-handed approach to environmental regulation for far too long—with rural and disadvantaged communities bearing the brunt. By imposing untenable regulations on American businesses, employers have faced difficult decisions to delay investments, move jobs overseas and pass on cost increases to consumers. Under President Donald Trump's leadership, EPA has sought to undo and correct the Obama administration's failed regulatory decisions, proving that environmental protection and economic prosperity go hand-in-hand.

When President Trump took office, he immediately began a process to remove and replace undue regulatory burdens that stifle American innovation and economic development. On January 30, 2017, he signed Executive Order 13771, directing agencies to issue at least two deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action. EPA has exceeded this goal, taking five cost-saving deregulatory actions for every one regulation implemented. To date, we have finalized an estimated 64 deregulatory actions, saving an estimated up to $94 billion in regulatory costs, with an additional 39 actions in development projected to save billions more. We have done all of this while continuing to improve the nation's air, land and water.

America is a global leader on clean air progress and carbon dioxide reductions, and we are the envy of the world when it comes to clean water. During the Trump administration, criteria air pollutant emissions have dropped 7 percent—the best air quality ever on record—and our water is among the cleanest on the planet. The United States now has some of the lowest fine particulate matter levels in the world—five times below the global average, seven times below Chinese levels and 20 percent lower than France, Germany and the U.K. In the 1960s, more than 40 percent of our nation's drinking water systems failed to meet even the most basic health standards. Today, more than 92 percent of community water systems meet all health-based standards, all the time.

While other countries talk about improving environmental indicators, the United States is doing it. In fact, we have done more to help the environment and economy during the first three and a half years of the Trump administration than the Obama administration did in eight years. While they focused on appeasing global elites by pushing an emissions treaty where signatories have now fallen short of their obligations, we have focused on our own citizens' needs, bringing much-needed regulatory relief to America's heartland.

With the new Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) Rule and our replacement of the 2015 "waters of the United States" definition, EPA has delivered on two of President Trump's biggest promises.

The SAFE Rule puts into place a national program that strikes the right regulatory balance for the environment, the auto industry, the economy, safety and families by improving fuel economy, continuing to reduce air pollution and making new vehicles more affordable for all Americans. The previous standards contributed to the rising cost of new automobiles to an average of $35,000 or more—out of reach for many American families. The SAFE Rule reduces regulatory costs to manufacturers by $163 billion, in turn saving Americans $1,400 in the total cost of owning a new vehicle and more than $1,000 in the up-front sales price. More importantly, the average age of vehicles on the road today is at a record-high 12 years—while in 1990, the average age was eight years. By reducing regulatory burdens, thereby reducing manufacturing costs, we will get more Americans into newer, safer, cleaner vehicles.

Our success creating more certainty and clarity for Americans was also shown in January, when we finalized a new definition of "waters of the United States" in our Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The previous administration's 2015 rule impermissibly expanded the definition of federal waters, which ultimately resulted in a confusing regulatory patchwork across the United States. The repeal and replacement of the previous administration's overreaching definition fulfills President Trump's promise to provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, homebuilders and developers nationwide. Ultimately, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule ensures that America's water protections—which are among the strongest in the world—stay strong.

Our greatest priority at EPA is to fulfill our mission of protecting human health and the environment. We have seen the impact of overregulation on Americans across the economic spectrum. The strain of sunk investments, lost jobs and increased cost of living—sometimes all at once—caused by burdensome and confusing regulations can have tremendous unintended consequences for the very people we intend to protect. Under the Trump administration, EPA will continue to seek ways to streamline and eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements to protect the environment and promote economic prosperity for all Americans.

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