TRUMP HAS OPTIONS FOR UNDOING OBAMA’S CLIMATE LEGACY...

President Obama’s effort to reduce carbon emissions by coal-burning power plants could be undone when President-elect Donald J. Trump takes office in January. Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

 

President-elect Donald J. Trump has vowed to dismantle many of the signature policies put in place by the Obama administration to fight the effects of climate change...

 President-elect Donald J. Trump has vowed to dismantle many of the signature policies put in place by the Obama administration to fight the effects of climate change.

 During the campaign, he threatened, among other things, to kill the Clean Power Plan, a set of rules to reduce emissions from power plants. He has also taken aim at new regulations to limit methane leaks from wells and pipelines. And members of his transition team have suggested that he may reduce or eliminate basic climate research at NASA or other agencies.

 If he follows through, most of these moves will be opposed by environmental groups, by Democrats in Congress and perhaps even by some Republicans. But Mr. Trump will have several tools to begin nullifying the Obama climate agenda.

 One of them is the little-known Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a small outpost within the executive branch that has, since the Clinton administration, been the last stop for many regulations before they go into effect

Lawyers in the office pore over thousands of pages of federal regulations daily and pride themselves on meticulously reviewing the fine print, even if that takes months or years.

Under the control of the new administration, the office could slow President Obama’s latest regulatory initiatives by repeatedly sending them back for additional work.

It has been a brake on agency regulation throughout its lifetime,” said Jody Freeman, a professor at Harvard Law School and an expert on environmental regulation. “Some presidents have used it as more of a brake than others.”

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