Trump’s Environment Rollbacks Won’t Stick, Obama’s EPA Head Says
Gina McCarthy says reversals won’t withstand legal scrutiny Top roles at EPA still left unfilled, jeopardizing work President Donald Trump’s moves to roll back Obama-era environmental and climate regulations won’t stick, according to his predecessor’s environmental chief.
Neither the science nor the law is on Trump’s side as the administration moves to repeal rules governing water pollution, carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants and methane leaks from oil and gas wells, said Gina McCarthy, who led the Environmental Protection Agency for nearly four years under former President Barack Obama.
"I don’t think this administration understands how to do a rule in a robust way," McCarthy said in a meeting with Bloomberg News reporters and editors in Washington.
Her successor, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, is moving to reorient the agency by getting rid of a series of rules without offering a replacements.
That approach might not survive in the courts — and could lead to a reversal under the next administration.
"I don’t think they’ve shown themselves to be particularly enamored with the laws that they are required to implement," McCarthy said.
McCarthy’s comments come as Trump and Pruitt prepare rules delaying or reversing a suite of regulations.
The agency also delayed enforcement of a rule forcing refiners and chemical plants to better manage risks to avoid explosions or terrorist attacks.
Whether they prevail will hinge on how well the EPA justifies its moves and Pruitt faces challenges building up a robust administrative record to support the rule repeals without top deputies on board.
"President Obama and his administration are discovering that what can be done through executive fiat in a rulemaking without legislation by Congress can be undone by executive fiat and rulemaking," said Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a former member of Trump’s transition team.