JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to our continuing look
at the first year of the Trump presidency. There has been much focus on the president’s
track record when it comes to Congress and legislation that he has tried to pass. But just as notable is a major rollback of
regulations throughout the federal government. Some businesses have praised those moves,
and the president has said that they will lead to greater economic growth and job creation. Many critics, however, worry that important
protections are being lost. Hari Sreenivasan zeros in on some of these
changes and how you might be affected. HARI SREENIVASAN: During the campaign, President
Trump pledged to eliminate two existing regulations for every new one. After his first year, he seems to be well
past that mark. There are dozens of regulations and rules
once on the books that are now revoked, and there are hundreds of others that were set
to take effect or were planned that are essentially frozen or withdrawn. In fact, it’s far more than we can cover in
one segment, but we’re going to look at a few of the major ones, particularly when it
comes to the energy and environment. Eric Lipton has covered this extensively for
The New York Times, and he joins me now. Eric, you and your colleagues have focused
a lot on the energy and environment, the impact of the rules, or lack thereof. But let’s start with the EPA. What are some of the big rule changes that
Americans are going to feel? ERIC LIPTON, The New York Times: One of the
things the Obama administration was trying to do was reduce emissions from oil and gas
operations and any groundwater contamination and other effects. So, for example, there was a rule on methane
emissions from oil and gas facilities and also in terms of regulating fracking done
on federal lands. Both those rules are either gone or in the
process of being eliminated. There was also a moratorium on new coal mines
being leased from federal property in the United States. That moratorium has been lifted. And there was a change in royalties, so that
anyone that was going to be taking coal from federal lands was going to have to pay a greater
rate to compensate the American citizens for the use of that coal. And that rule has been revoked as well. So those are just a few in the environmental. There’s more than 60 that we have counted
up that have already been eliminated or are in the process of being eliminated just in
the environmental sector. HARI SREENIVASAN: And it changes the landscape,
literally, when you combine this with measures that the Department of Interior has been taking. ERIC LIPTON: I mean, the Department of Interior,
for example, in that sector, there was a rule that prohibited the filling of rivers and
streams near coal mines, just simply taking the fill and dropping it into valleys where
there were streams. That rule was revoked by Congress early on,
with the support of President Trump. And others in coal mining have to do with
regulations relative to workers that are being looked at. So, across all sectors of the economy, we
are seeing changes that are taking place, most of which has to do with new rules that
were being planned that are now being put on inactive status and not being finalized. HARI SREENIVASAN: How do you measure the impact
of some of these changes? Does the EPA lack the teeth it once had? Are there different injunctive measures being
taken or is there a decrease in the frequency of the type of cases that the EPA is bringing? ERIC LIPTON: Yes, not only are we seeing rules
being rolled back, but we’re also seeing a reduction in enforcement by the Environmental
Protection Agency, for example. We have seen fewer cases initiated. I spent time in Ohio, where there was a community
where there was two different kinds of pollution occurring in the city, a hazardous incinerator
— a hazardous waste incinerator that was there that had been chronically sending toxic
pollutants into the air on one side of town. On the other side of the town, there was a
metal ingredient processing plant that was sending manganese into the air in a way that
some thought was threatening the health of local children. And there has been no action to finalize enforcement
against these companies. And we saw lots of cases where there has been
a decline in the number of initiated cases and in the value of the fines being collected
so far under the new administration. HARI SREENIVASAN: One of the big changes that
people did hear about were net neutrality rules. What factored into that? ERIC LIPTON: Well, at the Federal Communications
Commission, which has been, like the EPA, one of the most active players so far in rolling
back rules, the Federal Communications Commission moved late last year to revoke a law, a rule
that was adopted during the Obama administration that put limits on the ability of your broadband
providers to cap the rate at which data moves across the Internet depending on who the provider
is. And the rule was called net neutrality. And it affects — ultimately could affect
how quickly you can get access to various Internet sites. And the FCC revoked — has revoked that rule,
although there is already movement in Congress now to try to overturn that action by the
Federal Communications Commission. And the Federal Communications Commission
is also revoking rules that prohibit the merger of broadcasters over the federally controlled
airwaves. And they’re pulling back rules that have been
in place in some cases for decades to allow more consolidation of the broadcasters in
the United States. HARI SREENIVASAN: I should point out that
there are several industries and companies that are very happy with these rule changes. This is one oft first year that CEOs have
said that regulation is not top of mind for one of their concerns on what could affect
their bottle lines. ERIC LIPTON: It’s certainly the case. And this is quite welcomed by the business
community. And businesses citing it as perhaps an explanation
as to why they’re willing to make expansion decisions right now, because they feel as
if fewer new rules are going to be thrown at them. And it has brought more of a predictability
for the business community in terms of trying to estimate how much it is going to cost to
comply with the whole range of federal rules. And we also did a piece that looked at some
apple farmers, and the many, many layers of rules that the federal government has. And at times, the federal government can go
overboard in terms of demanding so many things that different business sectors do to try
to comply with public safety and public health. But, usually, there’s a reason why different
rules exist. And there are various folks in the environmental
community, Democratic state attorney generals who are trying to challenge some of these
rollbacks who think that public health and financial stability is potentially at risk
because of some of these rollbacks. HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Eric Lipton of
The New York Times, thanks so much. ERIC LIPTON: Thank you.

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