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Public Protection Delays and Rollbacks Define Trump’s Fall Unified Agenda

Oct. 17, 2018

Public Protection Delays and Rollbacks Define Trump’s Fall Unified Agenda

Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen

Note: Late Tuesday night, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions for fall 2018. Public Citizen analyzed the list (PDF) of 14 significant regulatory actions finalized during FY 2018 and determined that none of them can be credibly described as significantly improving the public’s health and safety or saving lives. Public Citizen has multiple experts who are available to comment on the unified agenda.

Today’s deregulatory agenda shows that the Trump administration finalized zero significant health and safety protections in fiscal year 2018. This is a clear indication that our regulatory agencies have been corrupted and captured by corporate interests. Under the Trump administration, regulators are focused only on boosting corporate profits, not saving lives or protecting the public by holding corporate wrongdoers accountable.

While it’s no surprise that the administration has aggressively rolled back regulations to please corporations, the fact that it refused to issue any regulations that save lives or protect the public shows just how extreme and radical the White House’s deregulatory agenda has become. Instead, public protections that save lives are being systematically blocked or delayed in the name of “cutting red tape.”

Some of the more egregious examples include yet another delay of a rule limiting the amount of lead in drinking water – confirming remarks made earlier this week by the recently ousted head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Children’s Health Office that the agency is “doing nothing to protect children from lead.” This is the third consecutive unified agenda where President Donald Trump’s EPA has declared that it will punt on issuing a new standard for lead in drinking water standard. This makes clear that under Trump, the EPA’s war on lead is dead.

The administration altogether ignores the benefits of the rules it is cutting, and then it wildly exaggerates the size of the purported savings to big business. The administration’s claimed cost savings of $23 billion are inflated and highly misleading. Buried in the memo (PDF) documenting these numbers is an admission that the $23 billion in savings to corporations is not an annual figure for FY 2018 but rather over a “perpetual time horizon.” The annual value amounts to only $1.61 billion in savings this year. Despite the cartoonishly exaggerated figures, the deregulatory agenda does show that crucial health, safety and environmental protections are being dismantled before our eyes.

See this fact sheet for more details (PDF).