Trump Races To Weaken Environmental Laws And Worker Protections Before Leaving Office

by | 7 months ago | Top Stories | 0 comments

The Trump administration is pushing hard to finalize dozens of policy changes before President Donald Trump leaves office that will weaken environmental and worker protections, according to ProPublica.

The rules range from long-simmering administration priorities to last-minute scrambles and affect everything from creature comforts like showerheads and clothes washers to life-or-death issues like federal executions and international refugees. 

They impact everyone from the most powerful, such as oil drillers, drugmakers and tech startups, to the most vulnerable, such as families on food stamps, transgender people in homeless shelters, migrant workers and endangered species.

ProPublica noted that every administration pursues last-minute rule-making, known as “midnight regulations,” but added that “these final weeks are solidifying conservative policy objectives that will make it harder for the Biden administration to advance its own agenda.”

“The bottom line is the Trump administration is trying to get things published in the Federal Register, leaving the next administration to sort out the mess,” said Matthew Kent, who tracks regulatory policy for left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen. “There are some real roadblocks to Biden being able to wave a magic wand on these.”

Susan Dudley, who led the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget at the end of the George W. Bush administration, told ProPublica: “One concern is the rules are rushed so they didn’t have adequate analysis or public comment, and that’s what we’re seeing.”

Among the rule changes are “several rules that would make it harder to justify pollution restrictions or lock in soot levels for at least five years.”

Trump is also looking to “loosen efficiency standards for showerheads and laundry machines.” The president has often complained that no water comes out of showerheads when he’s trying to wash his hair.

“Do you ever get under a shower and no water comes out?” Trump said at an October rally in Nevada. “And me, I want that hair to be so beautiful.”

Propublica noted that “Water and electric companies warn it could lead to higher consumption and waste.”

Less than a week after Trump lost reelection, “ the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified food safety groups that it was proposing a regulatory change to speed up chicken factory processing lines, a change that would allow companies to sell more birds.”

An earlier USDA effort had broken down on concerns that it could lead to more worker injuries and make it harder to stop germs like salmonella.

In addition, the White House is on the cusp of completing several rules that would further restrict immigration and make it more difficult for Biden to reverse them.

The pending rules would make it more difficult to claim asylum by excluding people with criminal convictions (even those that have been expunged), drastically shortening the application time and giving immigration judges more latitude to pick and choose what evidence to consider.

See a more detailed list of rule changes here.

Image credit: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks / Public Domain

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