NGOs sue Trump administration over regulatory order
One in, two out requirement violates president's constitutional authority, say groups
Three US non-profit organisations are suing President Donald Trump in an attempt to block his executive order slashing government regulations.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Public Citizen and the Communications Workers of America filed their suit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on 8 February.
Naming several high-ranking members of the Trump administration, they ask the court to issue a declaration that the order cannot be lawfully implemented and to bar federal agencies from implementing it.
The president's order, issued 30 January, requires covered federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new one passed. And they may not introduce any new net costs to the federal government with new regulations, unless given written permission from the Trump administration.
But the complaint says the order "exceeds President Trump's constitutional authority, violates his duty under the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, and directs federal agencies to engage in unlawful actions that will harm countless Americans, including plaintiffs' members."
The complaint adds that to "repeal two regulations for the purpose of adopting one new one, based solely on a directive to impose zero net costs and without any consideration of benefits, is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law".
"If implemented, the order would result in lasting damage to our government's ability to save lives [and] protect our environment," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "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."
The plaintiffs also claim the order will make it almost impossible for agencies to adopt new regulations, citing the executive order's mandate to balance costs. "With these requirements, agencies may just give up on rulemaking," the plaintiffs said in an online Q&A posted to Public Citizen's website.
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