“When it comes to restoring the vast majority of these Obama environmental policies, the backslides have actually been made by putting in place new regulations,” Jeffrey Holmstead, an attorney representing fossil fuel companies who has served in the EPA in both Bush administrations. “In some cases it took two to three years. They will have to be replaced by new regulations. There is a legal process that must be followed. “
The work of restoring more comprehensive federal regulations on air, water and climate pollution will take even longer. One key reason, legal experts explained: When the Trump administration rescinded these rules, it almost never eliminated them entirely. Instead, they replaced strict federal pollution regulations with new, weaker pollution regulations.
The Biden administration, in turn, will seek to legally rescind these weak regulations and replace them with stricter regulations. And this legal process typically takes two years or more. For example, the Trump EPA rolled back the Obama administration’s biggest policy to curb climate change, a rule that required automakers to quickly increase passenger vehicle fuel consumption and, in so doing, reduce considerably their pollution by heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Pollution. To do this, the EPA had to follow a long legal path, formally issuing a proposed rule change, opening it up for public comment, drafting legal, economic and scientific justifications for the rule, and making complex technical analyzes of the impacts of the rule. new rule on road safety, air quality and consumer behavior.
Although the Trump administration began its overturning of Obama’s auto pollution rule in the early days of taking office, it was only completed last spring.
The same timeline could await Mr Biden as he seeks to restore rule.
“It’s a laborious and time-consuming process,” said Richard Revesz, professor of environmental law at New York University, who was on Mr. Biden’s shortlist to lead the EPA.
“No one doubts the power of the EPA to reinstate these auto pollution regulations,” Revesz said. “But they can’t just do away with Trump’s rules by executive order. They have to go through the same process – prepare all the scientific and economic analyzes, and you have to do everything right.