Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has joined forces with other groups to take legal action against the Trump administration over a brawny executive order signed Jan. 30 that directs federal agencies to repeal two federal regulations for every new regulation passed.
The order also sets a budget of $0 for rulemaking this fiscal year, without taking into consideration the value the rule would have on public protections.
Because the executive order poses sweeping, potentially destructive threats to the American public, Public Citizen teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to sue the new administration.
Donald Trump and his appointees have assumed a fierce anti-regulation stance from the start, vowing even to strip away protections that have benefited both consumers and businesses alike.
The plaintiffs filed the complaint in a federal court in Washington D.C., seeking a declaration that Trump’s order cannot be lawfully carried out and barring federal agencies from implementing the order.
“When presidents overreach, it is up to the courts to remind them no one is above the law and hold them to the U.S. Constitution,” said Patti Goldman, an attorney with Earthjustice, one of the organizations providing legal counsel for the plaintiffs. “This is one of those times.”
In addition to the president, the complaint also names as defendants the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and the heads of more than a dozen executive departments and agencies. The complaint asserts that these administrators and directors cannot lawfully comply with the executive order because doing so would violate the statutes under which the agencies operate and the Administrative Procedure Act.
“No one thinking sensibly about how to set rules for health, safety, the environment and the economy would ever adopt the Trump Executive Order approach – unless their only goal was to confer enormous benefits on big business,” Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said in a statement.
“If implemented, the order would result in lasting damage to our government’s ability to save lives, protect our environment, police Wall Street, keep consumers safe and fight discrimination,” he added. “By irrationally directing agencies to consider costs but not benefits of new rules, it would fundamentally change our government’s role from one of protecting the public to protecting corporate profits.”
“New efforts to stop pollution don’t automatically make old ones unnecessary. When you make policy by tweet, it yields irrational rules,” said NRDC President Rhea Suh. “This order imposes a false choice between clean air, clean water, safe food and other environmental safeguards.”
According to CWA President Chris Shelton, Trump’s executive order demands that “workers trade off one set of job health and safety protections in order to get protection from another equally dangerous condition.
“This order means that the asbestos workplace standard, for example, could be discarded in order to adopt safeguards for nurses from infectious diseases in their workplaces. This violates the mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect workers’ safety and health. It also violates common sense,” Mr. Shelton said.
Source: Public Citizen