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Analysts Expect Trump to Roll Back Environmental Rules β€” Eventually

If Trump wants to roll back the Obama administration's environmental policies, it could take him awhile.

Donald Trump's election win last week prompted concerns from environmental advocates β€” and glee from some industry groups β€” about the fate of the Obama administration's environmental policies.

But a former Justice Department official indicated that reversing eight years' worth of regulations won't be that simple, according to Daily Environment Report.

β€œThe beauty of the administrative process is that the agency can change its mind, but it has to support its decision-making with an appropriate administrative record," Ignacia Moreno, who led the agency's Environment and Natural Resources Division from 2009 to 2013, told a conference in New York this week.

Analysts, however, expect the Trump administration to halt any environmental rules that remain in progress when he takes office and, ultimately, to work to roll back many previously enacted rules.

They also do not expect much of an effort to repeal existing environmental laws, which would require congressional approval. Republicans will retain control of both the House and Senate next year, but their Senate majority would not be enough to prevent a Democratic filibuster.

One law that could be tweaked, observers told DER, is the National Environmental Policy Act, a 1969 law that requires environmental assessments prior to major capital projects. Lawmakers could seek to expedite or exempt some of those evaluations.

With the new administration likely to turn a deaf ear to the concerns of environmentalists, advocates will likely look elsewhere to pursue their priorities, from pressuring the market to pursuing Republican-friendly initiatives in Congress to enacting stricter standards at the state level.

The latter pattern, in particular, surfaced during George W. Bush's administration.

β€œI think we’ll see important actions by the states to resist the rollbacks in environmental protection,” Earthjustice attorney Peter Lehner told DER.

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