On Friday, January 20, President Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum to executive branch department and agency heads placing an immediate hold on federal regulations that are under development.

This regulatory “freeze” has become standard practice in recent Administrations. In 2009, President Obama issued a temporary halt to regulations being developed by the outgoing George W. Bush Administration. In 2001, President Bush issued a temporary stay on regulations under development by the outgoing Clinton Administration. New presidents want to ensure that federal regulations reflect their policies and priorities.


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Photo by Alfonso Cuchi
Photo by Alfonso Cuchi

From the look of things, California is gearing up for a fight.

During the campaign, President-Elect Trump promised to redirect EPA’s focus away from climate change, with a greater emphasis on clean air and clean water. As part of this pledge, he vowed to dismantle the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and roll back EPA regulations, which he sees as hampering U.S. competitiveness.

California sees things differently. On January 4, California’s Legislature announced it had hired Eric H. Holder Jr., President Obama’s former U.S. Attorney General, as outside counsel to lead the state’s legal challenges to the incoming administration on a number of fronts, including the environment. In a joint statement, the Legislature explained, “With the upcoming change in administrations, we expect that there will be extraordinary challenges for California in the uncertain times ahead. . . . This is a critical moment in the history of our nation. We have an obligation to defend the people who elected us and the policies and diversity that make California an example of what truly makes our nation great.”


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