EPA emerges as major target after Trump solicits policy advice from industry

Just days after taking office, President Trump invited American manufacturers to recommend ways the government could cut regulations and make it easier for companies to get their projects approved.

Industry leaders responded with scores of suggestions that paint the clearest picture yet of the dramatic steps that Trump officials are likely to take in overhauling federal policies, especially those designed to advance environmental protection and safeguard worker rights.

Those clues are embedded in the 168 comments submitted to the government after Trump signed a presidential memorandum Jan. 24 instructing the Commerce Department to figure out how to ease permitting and trim regulations with the aim of boosting domestic manufacturing. The Environmental Protection Agency has emerged as the primary target in these comments, accounting for nearly half, with the Labor Department in second place as the subject of more than one-fifth, according to a Commerce Department analysis.

Among the notable items on industry’s to-do list:

●BP wants to make it easier to drill for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico by reducing how often companies must renew their
leases.

●A trade association representing the pavement industry wants to preclude the U.S. Geological Survey from conducting what the group says is “advocacy research” into the environmental impact of coal tar. The Pavement Coatings Technology Council says this research could limit what it uses to seal parking lots and driveways.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to reduce the amount of time opponents have to challenge federal approval of projects. Challenges would have to be filed within two years, down from six.

●The Chamber also wants to jettison a requirement that employers report their injury and illness records electronically to the Labor Department so they can be posted “on the internet for anyone to see.”

●And in its 51-page comment, “Make Federal Agencies Responsible Again,” the Associated General Contractors of America recommended repealing 11 of President Barack Obama’s executive orders and memorandums, including one establishing paid sick leave for government contractors.

Three senior administration officials in different departments said the White House is inclined to accept many of these suggestions. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a process that is underway.

(Excerpted from Washington Post 4/16/17)