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Trump Executive Order: Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth



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On March 28, 2017 President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order,  ”Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.”   The text of the order is here.  A summary table prepared by Kathy Beckett is here.

The Executive Order contains multiple provisions that target many sectors to include:  coal, oil/gas, other energy and manufacturing. 

  • Regulatory Review: EPA has been directed to review, and if appropriate, suspend, revise or rescind the Clean Power Plan rule, which was stayed by the Supreme Court in February 2016.  Additionally, federal agencies have been directed to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies that burden the development and use of domestically produced energy resources to include coal, natural gas, nuclear material, flowing water, renewables, etc.
  • NEPA. Rescinds the August 2016 White House Council on Environmental Quality guidance for federal agencies on the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews.
  • Social Cost of Carbon. Withdraws certain technical support documents related to the social cost of carbon and requiring agencies to adhere to OMB Circular A-4 when “monetizing the value of changes in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from regulations.”
  • Federal Lands. Lifts the Department of Interior’s January 2016 federal coal leasing moratorium, which restricted issuance of new coal leases on federal lands.

The agencies have 45 days from the date of the order (May 12) to submit a plan to OMB on how they will implement that directive, and 120 days to submit a draft report (July 26) to OMB detailing the results of their reviews.  Those draft reports, which should include recommendations on eliminating agency actions that burden domestic energy production, must be finalized by September 26, 2017.

West Virginia Featured by President Trump and Administration.  During the press conference, U.S. Energy Secretary Scott Perry commented that the path forward is ingenuity and entrepreneurship, and that the administration is seeking ways to develop a partnership with the private sector.  Secretary Perry commented that now is the time to unravel the red tape which is keeping investment on the sideline.  The goal is to make America energy dominant.  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke characterized the Energy Independence Executive Order as a decisive action that will promote energy independence.  He commented that jobs matter, which will be the result of a redevelopment of the energy sector.  In addition to jobs, this Executive Order will also promote national security and the world, as the world is safer when America is strong.  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt acknowledged those coal miners who were present during the press conference.  He commented that being pro-energy and pro-environment are not combative goals.  Pruitt stated that EPA will no longer engaged in regulatory assaults on economic sectors.  There will no longer be winners and losers in environmental policy.  The EPA will be playing by the rules in developing rulemakings and will develop a program of regulatory certainty.  The result will be to transform the economy.  Vice President Mike Pence referenced the need for energy independence and growing energy economy.  He specifically referenced being in West Virginia recently, and Senator Shelley Moore Capito and the job losses in WV.  Pence announced that the War on Coal is Over.  Pence stated that “we want to promote affordable and abundant power….our policy will be an all the above energy policy.”

President Trump also offered a nod to Senator Capito.  Trump commented that his goal was to eliminate federal overreach and restore economic freedom.  Trump’s goal is to level the playing field for business.  The President offered thanks to the coal miners who attended the press conference.  He offered the observation that West Virginians love their jobs and that we are going to give them those jobs back.  His administration is working to remove the hurdles to coal mining.  Trump expressed his intention to remove restrictions that are government intrusions on business and are, therefore, job killing.  The removal of such regulations will still preserve safety and clean air and clean water.  He referenced the need to re-evaluate the Clean Power Plan, and to remove barriers to pipeline development, as was done for the XL Pipeline and Dakota Access.  Trump also announced Ford Motor Company’s expansion in Michigan.   Trump stated that he wants to expand energy production, and that there will be new development for infrastructure and manufacturing.   Trump also hopes to unlock natural gas and oil through shale development.

Prepared by Kathy G. Beckett, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC,