President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday that aims to slash regulations—an action, advocacy groups say, that puts lives at risk.
The order—the latest of a flurry since he took office—states that "for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination," fulfilling a campaign promise he made.
"For fiscal year 2017, which is in progress, the heads of all agencies are directed that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year shall be no greater than zero," it adds.
Advocacy groups were quick to decry the executive order as "unworkable," "as dumb as it gets," and "dangerous" as it puts enforcement of acts like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Food Safety Modernization Act in jeopardy.
What the order means, said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, "is that for every restriction on immigration or tax break for big oil companies that is put into place, Donald Trump will also be able to throw out two clean air and clean water safeguards." He called it "shameless pandering" that "is willfully ignorant of Congressional mandates."
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According to Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, "It will fundamentally change our government's role from one of protecting the public to protecting corporate profits, and will lead to a dangerous new era of deregulation and corporate 'self-regulation.'"
While Trump declared with the order that "the American Dream is back," Weissman describes the impacts as anything but dreamy.
"Upcoming regulations to update lead safety standards in drinking water, prohibit payday lenders from preying on consumers with unconscionable interest rates, and remove unsafe chemicals from the marketplace under the new Toxic Substances Control Act are just a few of the vital new measures that will be shelved until corporate special interests identify public protections for the Trump administration to repeal."
"It's horrifying that even after the Wall Street crash, the massive BP oil spill, and numerous other public health and safety disasters across the country due to a lack of strong regulations, Americans will once again have to pay the price for the consequences of corporate recklessness, greed, and lawbreaking," Weissman continued.
"It's fair to assume that this latest edict was not run by any of the agencies that actually do the serious business of regulating," said Center for Science in the Public Interest executive director Michael F. Jacobson. Rather, it "springs from a cartoonish and unsophisticated view of the regulations that keep our air clean, our water potable, our food safe, our planes from crashing, and so on, and ignores the public health benefits of those rules. It may make for a fine photo opportunity but this edict signed today is not itself serious. The consequences, though, may well be."
A Gallup poll released Saturday suggests the public is not in support of the executive actions Trump has taken thus far, as he reached a majority disapproval in record little time.