Foley Hoag Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Union of Concerned Scientists in Challenge of "Two for One" Executive Order

June 6, 2017

Foley Hoag LLP has filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) in support of efforts to oppose an executive order that requires federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation they enact. The brief, filed today in the U.S. District Court of Columbia, supports a case by EarthJustice, the National Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen and the Communications Workers of America.

The “two-for-one” executive order was issued on January 30, 2017 by President Donald J. Trump with the stated intent to streamline federal regulation management and reduce the costs associated with the governmental imposition of private expenditures required for compliance to these regulations. Foley Hoag, representing the UCS pro bono, has filed the brief to question the legality of this order, and to indicate the immediate negative effects it will have on public health, safety and the environment.

“This executive order places heavy restrictions on our federal agencies,” said Ken Kimmel, president of the UCS. “It is dangerous to mandate the arbitrary removal of several important regulations to implement an equally important new one. As scientists, we see firsthand how the rules and regulations of the EPA, FDA and other regulatory bodies protect our society.”

As federal agencies are granted the authority to issue an unlimited amount of regulations under the Administrative Procedure Act, enacted by Congress in 1946, the brief alleges the “two-for-one” executive order violates federal law by requiring agencies to focus on the costs and ignore the benefits of new regulations.

“Not only will federal agency processes be hindered due to the “two-for-one” rule, but the executive order also places a great and unnecessary risk to national consumer and environmental protections, as well as numerous public safety measures,” said Seth Jaffe, partner at Foley Hoag and coordinator of the firm’s Environmental Practice Group. “On behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists, we find the executive order to be an illegal and unsustainable deterrence to proper, protective governance.”

The Foley Hoag legal team representing UCS includes Jaffe, Alicia Barton, Cicely Parseghian, Kelly Caiazzo and Aaron Lang in Boston and Clara Brillembourg in Washington D.C. The amicus brief can be read here.

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