In DepthU.S. Policy

Republicans ready a regulatory rollback

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Science  25 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6315, pp. 951
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6315.951

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Get ready for a regulatory reckoning. President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-dominated Congress are poised to erase scores of science-rooted regulations and directives issued by President Barack Obama and his administration. Likely targets include rules and executive orders that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, require agencies to consider climate change as they make policy, protect sensitive environments from energy development, and improve public health. Many will take time to undo, but a seldom-used law could enable Congress to make quick work of some regulations. The same law could have consequences that far outlast a Trump presidency, because it lets Congress bar agencies from subsequently issuing rules that are "substantially the same" as those it kills. At issue are the 2000 to 3000 regulations that federal agencies issue every year (which typically carry the weight of law), as well as some 200 Obama executive orders and presidential memoranda (which carry less weight because they can be rescinded by another president).