The Trump Administration has made an effort to clamp down on regulatory activity by his executive branch, issuing an executive order directing agencies to repeal two regulations for each one rule they issue (“one-in, two-out”) and instructing that any new regulations finalized this year must have an incremental cost of zero.[1]  President Trump seeks to rein in the regulatory process in order to reduce the burden of rules on businesses.

However, the executive order has already been challenged. On February 8th in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Communications Workers of America, and Public Citizen filed a joint complaint, seeking to prohibit implementation of the order and the White House Office of Management and Budget’s (“OMB”) February 3rd guidance on the policy. In the complaint, the plaintiffs argue that these regulation-restricting provisions clash with the Occupational Safety and Health (“OSH”) Act’s mandate to craft standards based on threats to worker safety. Additionally, the complaint argues that the executive order and guidance are “arbitrary and capricious” due to their focus on rules’ costs and not on their benefits to Americans. The plaintiffs claim that the “one-in, two-out” requirement will lead to a noticeable increase in the number of rules withdrawn from OMB consideration, since compliance with a new regulation is more expensive than the year-to-year costs of complying with current policy.

[1] Exec. Order, Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs, available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/30/presidential-executive-order-reducing-regulation-and-controlling.