Fewer Regulations, More Energy, Lower Emissions

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The Trump administration had cheery news to report this week about deregulation, U.S. energy production, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Department of Interior reported on its progress in implementing President Trump’s Executive Order 13771 on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs. Interior’s fiscal year 2018 regulatory reform actions have cut regulatory burdens by roughly $2.5 billion. Since January 2017, Interior has withdrawn more than 150 proposed rulemakings from the regulatory agenda and finalized 19 deregulatory actions in fiscal year 2018.

Interior also recently held a record-breaking lease sale on federal lands in New Mexico, which generated close to $1 billion, with nearly half the revenues going directly to the state.

“These regulatory reforms coupled with historic tax cuts and other factors have grown the economy and helped United States energy production hit historic highs,” the department’s press release stated. During President Trump’s time in office, total U.S. oil production has increased from 8.8 million barrels per day to 11.2 million barrels a day.

In related news, Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) announced that in 2017, U.S. offshore production reached a record high of 621 million barrels. Currently about one in five barrels of oil produced in the United States comes from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

BSEE director Scott Angelle credited President Trump’s pro-growth energy agenda for the record-breaking production: “Let us be the generation that inherited energy dependence and transformed it into energy dominance,” Angelle said. “When President Trump issued his executive order, titled, ‘Implementing an America First Offshore Energy Strategy,’ he changed America’s direction offshore.”

In a broader look at President Trump’s “regulatory freedom agenda,” the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reported this week that in fiscal year 2018, the administration saved $23 billion in overall regulatory costs, and has achieved $33 billion in net regulatory savings during Trump’s first 21 months. In contrast, federal agencies increased the regulatory burden by $245 billion during President Obama’s first 21 months.

In fiscal year 2018, agencies across the government eliminated 176 outdated, unnecessary or duplicative regulatory actions while issuing 14 significant regulatory actions—a ratio of 12-to-1. The administration withdrew or delayed 648 regulatory actions in fiscal year 2018, and has delayed or withdrawn 2,253 regulatory actions since January 2017.

For those who worry about greenhouse gas emission trends, there’s good news for them, too. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation announced this week that U.S. emissions declined by 2.7 percent during President Trump’s first year in office.

“These achievements flow largely from technological breakthroughs in the private sector, not the heavy hand of government,” stated acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
Reported emissions from large power plants declined 4.5 percent since 2016 and 19.7 percent since 2011. Under EPA’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule (which replaces the “Clean Power” Plan), carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector would continue to decline, with a projected decrease of 34 percent below 2005 levels. For perspective, the Obama EPA’s “Clean Power” Plan aimed to reduce power sector emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels.