Memorandum to EPA’s Regulatory Reform Task Force

On August 17, 2018, the Acting Administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew R. Wheeler, released a memorandum updating the EPA’s Regulatory Reform Task Force on its membership and processes in accordance with Executive Order (EO) 13777. The Task Force works towards regulatory reform to reduce unnecessary burden by the Agency.

The intent of Wheeler’s memo is to strengthen the Task Force in three ways: Membership, Support, and Process. He states that he is proud of the work over the past year in implementing feedback from the almost half-million comments they received last Spring but that their Task Force still has so much more work to do on reforming regulations that affect industries, such as the manufacturing industry. Adding key membership and support will help ensure the Task Force can effect change in legislation more efficiently with the aid of regular meetings and adherence to set administrative processes.

The most recent reform Acting Administrator Wheeler put in motion was a proposal for an Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule just on August 21, 2018. The ACE Rule would replace the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which never went into effect since the U.S. Supreme Court deemed that it exceeded the EPA’s authority. This new rule would particularly affect manufacturers who emit greenhouse gases, especially through the use of coal-fired power plants, in their operations.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal fueled 58% of Ohio’s net electricity generation last year, the Industrial Sector accounted for a third of Ohio energy consumption, and the Transportation Sector accounted for a quarter of consumption. This new Rule would empower States, promote energy independence, and facilitate job creation and economic growth, according to the Administration. “The ACE Rule would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

There is much debate surrounding whether ACE is best for the environment, but it will alleviate some of the regulatory burden placed on the manufacturing industry by the EPA.