Federal Regulations are Being Targeted

​​Quickly moving to deliver on his promise to reduce government regulation, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) on January 30 that, for the current 2017 fiscal year, requires Federal agencies to identify for repeal at least two regulations for every new one proposed, and that the total incremental costs of all new regulations and those identified for repeal will be no greater than zero. Beginning in FY 2018, each agency will have a cost cap for new regulations. The cap will be determined by the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). For all of these matters, regulations related to the military, national security, foreign affairs, intra-agency matters such as organization and personnel management are exempted. As noted in additional guidance ​issued on February 2, the “costs” associated with regulations are to be measured as the opportunity cost to society.

One of the most important clauses associated with this Executive Order specifies that in identifying regulations to be repealed, agencies should ensure that they will still be able to fulfill objectives such as health or environmental protection. This may bode well for worker health and safety, but there is sufficient ambiguity in the EO and guidance to give one pause. 

Congress has begun moving legislation to repeal or otherwise halt the implementation of final rules. While members of Congress and the Administration are seeking to improve society through regulatory reform, they may not fully understand the complexities of technical issues such as worker health and safety. In mid-February AIHA organized a briefing on Capitol Hill ​on an issue that has widespread impact – OSHA’s final rule on respirable crystalline silica.​​​​​​​​​