Trump Signs First Major Rollback of Obama-Era Climate Regulations

By Yessenia Funes Feb 15, 2017

President Donald Trump is wasting no time on dismantling some of the climate regulations made under Barack Obama. He signed a resolution yesterday (February 14) to repeal a rule that mandated resource extraction companies to disclose any payments made to a foreign government.

This move was made possible through a rare use of the 1996 Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to reject any recent law—those submitted to Congress on or since June 13, 2016—through majority vote and presidential signing. Congress voted to move the remove this regulation on February 3.*

The rule, which came from the Securities and Exchange Commission, went into effect on September 26, 2016. It required that these resource extraction companies make public how much they paid to foreign governments and what the payment was for. The goal? Reduce corruption. Former ExxonMobil CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lobbied against this regulation, Vox reports.

The president called the repeal a “big signing, a very important signing.” It’s part of his plan to bolster fossil fuel production, especially in the coal industry, which has seen plants rapidly closing due to the falling costs of natural gas.

Two other Obama-era climate regulations on the chopping block concern stream protection and methane emissions reduction. The House and Senate have already voted yes on H.J.Res. 38, which will scuttle rules requiring mining companies to protect streams and forests. H.J.Res. 36, the resolution to limit natural gas emissions on tribal and public lands, has been approved by the House but awaits Senate approval.

Both are in line with the president’s promise to revive the coal industry and remove regulation, especially given his January 30 executive order to remove at least two regulations for every one added.

(H/t Vox)


*This post was updated to correct that the Congress passed the repeal on February 3, not February 2.