Drinking water

A 2015 rule to protect drinking water quality is one of the many science-based rules in jeopardy under President Trump. Photo by Ridofranz, courtesy iStockphoto

Ten days after taking office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to identify two regulations for repeal for every new one proposed.

Soon after, Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Communications Workers of America filed suit, arguing that the order — which APHA said defies both reason and sound policy-making — exceeded the president’s authority and forces federal agencies to compromise their operational missions.

James Goodwin, JD, MPP, senior policy analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform, said the order epitomizes the administration’s attitude toward the regulatory system.

“As far as actual regulatory reform, this is the most far-reaching rule we’ve seen yet,” Goodwin told The Nation’s Health. “This executive order is about as damaging a move to the regulatory system that a president could take.”

A federal judge heard arguments in the case in August. But the two-for-one order is only a small fraction of the regulatory moves made in the first months of the Trump administration. Even though little is getting accomplished on the floor of Congress, significant regulatory changes are well underway within federal agencies — and many of them are a threat to public health.

To continue reading this story from the October 2017 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.