Trump's 'one-in, two-out' order not sensible for health regs, lawsuit claims

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The executive order was announced on Jan. 30.
The executive order was announced on Jan. 30.

President Donald Trump's executive order to slash two federal regulations for each new policy introduced may arbitrarily cut regulations focused on health and safety, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The suit, filed by liberal groups the Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen and Communication Workers of America, claims the order fails to take the benefits of new and current regulations into account. Instead, the groups argue, the order directs agencies to focus on cutting costs and “take regulatory actions that harm the people of this nation.”

“To repeal two regulations for the purpose of adopting one new one, based solely on a directive to impose zero net costs and without any consideration of benefits, is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law,” the lawsuit reads.

The groups go on to argue that cutting meant to address health and safety issues in order to limit costs would be unconstitutional.

“No one thinking sensibly about how to set rules for health, safety, the environment and the economy would ever adopt the Trump Executive Order approach — unless their only goal was to confer enormous benefits on big business,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, in a statement. “If implemented, the order would result in lasting damage to our government's ability to save lives, protect our environment, police Wall Street, keep consumers safe and fight discrimination.”

The lawsuit also raises concerns about the executive order's potential impact on regulations related to occupational health, offering the example that “an occupational health standard issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act … will need to be repealed to enable an employee overtime regulation issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

“This order means that the asbestos workplace standard, for example, could be discarded in order to adopt safeguards for nurses from infectious diseases in their workplaces,” said Chris Shelton, president of CWA. “This violates the mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect workers' safety and health. It also violates common sense.”

Trump's administration has since fired back that “overregulation has stemmed economic growth and job creation” and that reviewing new regulations should be “welcomed by everybody.”