US industry groups have told President Donald Trump’s administration that they want two main things from his promised regulatory overhaul: a speedier permit process and simpler environmental rules.
Associations representing the drilling, refining, mining, and building industries have submitted hundreds of pages of documents to the Commerce Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recent weeks, outlining regulations they want to see eliminated or modified.
The comments, many targeting the EPA, come in response to a pair of executive orders Trump signed during his first weeks in office, meant to cut the regulatory burden on companies. Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have already moved to rescind a slew of Obama-era environmental protections, including some aimed at combating global climate change.
The EPA’s regulatory reform office alone has received remarks from more than 65,000 people and groups, many of them criticizing the regulatory rollback plan as a potential threat to public health. But business groups have embraced the plan, calling it the best chance in more than a decade to reshape the regulatory landscape and boost growth without undermining air and water quality.
“Last time I remember this was 2001. That was the last big opportunity to make some changes,” said David Friedman, vice president of regulatory affairs for the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers industry group.
That year, then Vice President Dick Cheney chaired an energy task force that produced a National Energy Policy report, a road map to boosting domestic systems and supplies. Much has changed since: US oil and gas production hit all-time highs during the administration of former President Barack Obama, helped by high crude prices and improved drilling technology.
This time around, industry groups appear focused on easing the permitting process for new facilities and installations, according to a Reuters review of the comments.