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Cooperative Federalism and the Shifting State of Environmental Regulation

Among the numerous goals announced thus far by President Donald Trump and his advisors is the significant reduction of administrative regulations that negatively impact states’ rights and make some innovation and corporate business practices more costly and time consuming. The new administration’s message has been that federal agencies are ignoring the boundaries Congress set when creating them and have abused their mandates, and they must be reined in. In other words, federal agencies need to stop doing so much regulating. 

Restricting the scope of federal regulation will presumably make compliance with the rules easier, through increased transparency and simplicity, and lawmaking power will be returned to the sole control of Congress, where the administration believes it belongs. In addition, the new administration believes overactive federal agencies have been limiting the rights of individual states. The administration’s view is that control needs to be decentralized to allow for states to act as independent sovereigns, making decisions and issuing and enforcing regulations in keeping with their own best interests and individual attributes. President Trump’s actions to further these goals include his issuance of a regulatory moratorium shortly after his inauguration, and his appointment of agency leaders who support states’ rights and a limited central government.

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