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Since the very first day in the office, Trump has made the elimination of federal regulations a top priority.

His administration, supported fully by the Republicans in Congress, targeted environmental rules as overly burdensome to fossil fuel industries – including major Obama-era aimed at fighting climate change.

An analysis made from the New York Times, collaborating with Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School, counted nearly 80 environmental rules on the way out under Trump. The list represents two types of changes in policies: rules that were officially reversed and rollbacks in progress. 

Almost a dozen more rules were rolled back and then later reinstated, following legal challenges.


The whole process of the roll-back regulations has not always been smooth. In cases, the administration failed to provide a strong and legal argument in favor of the proposed changes, or agencies have skipped steps in the rulemaking process. These might include process like notifying the public and asking for comments. In the majority of cases, the courts ordered agencies to enforce their own rules.

All this being said, Trump’s administration environmental rollbacks might lead to at least 80,000 deaths each decade and might cause respiratory problems for more than a million people, according to an analysis from Harvard. 

That number is very likely to be “a major underestimate of the global health impact” claimed Francesca Dominici – a professor of biostatistics at Harvard.

Here are further details.

Air pollution and Emissions

Already done

1. Canceled a requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions.

2. Revised Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions on public lands. This also includes intentional venting and flaring from said drilling operations.

3. Released a Clinton-era rule designed on limiting toxic emissions from major polluters.

4. Stopped enforcing a rule established in 2015 that prohibited the use of hydrofluorocarbons and powerful greenhouse gases.

5. Repeated a requirement that authorities track tailpipe emissions from vehicles using the federal highways.

6. Revised the rules that command how refineries monitor pollution in surrounding communities.

7. Directed agencies to stop using Obama-era calculations of “social cost carbon” that was used to estimate the long-term economic benefits of using less carbon dioxide

8. Removed administration that federal agencies include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews.

9. Regressed to a weaker 2009 pollution permitting program for new power plants.

In process

10. Proposed weakening the fuel-economy standards from the Obama-era for cars and light trucks. The proposal challenges California’s right to set its own more stringent standards.

11. Announced officially to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement (but this can’t be completed until 2020).

12. Proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which would have set strict limits on carbon emission from coal and gas-fired power plants.

13. Proposed officially to eliminate Obama-era restrictions that in effect required newly build coal power plants to seize carbon dioxide emissions.

14. Proposed a legal argument for weakening an Obama-era rule that restricted mercury emissions from coal plants.

15. Proposed amendments to standards for carbon dioxide emission from new and reconstructed power plants.

16. Began review of emission rules for power plants start-ups and malfunctions.

17. Proposed relaxing the Obama-era requirements that companies monitor and repair methane leaks at oil facilities.

18. Proposed changing rules aimed at cutting methane emissions from landfills.

19. Announced rewriting of an Obama-era rule meant to reduce air pollution in national parks.

20. Weakened oversight some state plans to reduce air pollutions in the national park.

21. Suggested annulling the leak-repair and reporting requirements for large refrigeration and air condition systems that contain hydrofluorocarbons.

Drilling and extraction

Already done

22. Lifted a freeze on new coal leases on public lands.

23. Revoked on Obama-rule governing royalties for oil, gas and coal leases on federal lands, that replaced an 80s rule that enabled companies to underpay the federal government.

24. Made tremendous cuts to the borders of two national monuments in Utah.

25. Repealed an Obama-era executive order that was initially designed to preserve the ocean, coastal and Great Lakes waters favoring a policy focused on energy production.

26. Rescinded water pollution laws for fracking on federal and Indian lands.

27. Rejected a recommended rule that required mines to prove they could pay to clean up the future pollution.

28. Withdrew a requirement that Gulf oil rig owners prove they could cover costs of removing rigs after they’ve stopped producing.

29. Approved construction of the Dakota Acess Pipeline less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

30. Changed what is considered indirect effects of greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews of pipelines. 

31. Allowed the use of seismic air guns for gas and oil research in the Atlantic Ocean.

In process

32. Suggested opening most of America’s tidal waters to offshore oil and gas drilling.

33. Assisted an environmental analysis method to clear the way for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

34. Required review of guidance on oil and gas drilling in national parks where mineral rights are privately owned.

35. Recommended changes to laws for oil well control and leak prevention systems implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill.

36. Approved shrinking three marine protected regions, or opening them to commercial fishing.

37. Proposed changes to regulations on offshore oil and gas research by floating vessels in the Arctic that were formed after a 2013 accident.

Infrastructure and Planning

Already done

38. Rescinded Obama-era flood models for federal infrastructure projects, like roads and bridges. The standards expected the government to account for sea-level rise and other climate change effects.

39. Eased the environmental review process for federal infrastructure projects.

40. Removed a directive for federal agencies to reduce impacts on water, wildlife, land, and other natural sources when supporting development projects.

41. Removed a 2016 order supporting “climate resilience” in the northern Bering Sea area in Alaska.

42. Revoked an Obama-era rule that had set a goal of forming the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over 10 years.

43. Inverted an update to the Bureau of Land Management’s public land use planning process.

44. Rescinded an Obama-era order to examine climate change in maintaining natural resources in national parks.

45. Limited most Interior Department environmental studies to one year in length and a maximum of 150 pages, citing the need to reduce paperwork.

46. Removed a number of Obama-era Interior Department climate change and protection policies that the company said could “burden the development or utilization of domestically produced energy resources.”

47. Eliminated the use of an Obama-era planning system designed to minimize harm from oil and gas activity on delicate landscapes, such as national parks.

48. Relaxed the environmental review methods for small wireless infrastructure projects with the aim of expanding 5G wireless networks.

In process

49. Reported plans to speed up and streamline the environmental analysis process for forest rehabilitation projects.

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