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Court Issues Decision in Challenge to Trump’s Deregulatory Executive Order

Feb. 26, 2018

Court Issues Decision in Challenge to Trump’s Deregulatory Executive Order

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A federal court today ruled that Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have not yet shown that President Donald Trump’s “1-in, 2-out” executive order is causing the sort of injury that permits them to pursue their challenge to the order in court. The court did not rule on the merits of the challenge.

The decision came in a lawsuit, Public Citizen v. Trump, challenging Trump’s Jan. 31 executive order requiring federal agencies to repeal two regulations for every new regulation issued.

Public Citizen, CWA and NRDC – plaintiffs in the suit – argued that Trump’s order is unconstitutional because it requires agencies to exceed the scope of the authority delegated to them by Congress, and to violate the statutes under which the agencies operate and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The groups asked the court to declare the executive order unlawful and to issue an order barring the agencies from implementing it. In its ruling today, however, the court said that it was not yet satisfied that the groups had shown that they have “standing” to sue.

“President Trump’s deregulatory executive order aims to empower big business to pollute, cheat, rip off, endanger, discriminate and price gouge free from governmental restrictions,” said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. “Unfortunately, the court concluded that Public Citizen and colleague groups did not have standing to challenge the order at this time. But our members are being hurt right now by Trump’s order, and the order is impeding our ability to advocate.”

CWA President Chris Shelton said, “This isn’t complicated. Trump’s executive order is a big favor to big business, and it puts workers’ lives at risk. Health and safety regulations are written in the blood of working people, and this executive order treats those lifesaving rules like bargaining chips. Essentially, it tells workers: If you want to be free from asbestos, you’ll need to contend with lead poisoning or infectious disease, because Trump’s friends in the corporate world can’t be bothered with obeying commonsense health and safety rules. We shouldn’t have to wait for a member to get sick, or injured, or die because of this executive order before the courts will take action. We’re disappointed in the court’s decision, but we’re not backing down from representing our members and defending workers’ lives.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are represented by lawyers at Public Citizen Litigation Group, NRDC, CWA and Earthjustice.

“Today’s ruling does nothing to change the fact that this executive order is blatantly unconstitutional and a textbook case of presidential overreach,” said Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen. “The president cannot unilaterally prevent agencies from putting protections in place to ensure the safety of the water we drink, the food, we eat, the air we breathe and the places we work.”

The court indicated that it may give the groups an opportunity to bolster their showing of injury. The groups are still reviewing the decision.