1. On the day of President Trump’s inauguration, his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum calling for a regulatory freeze pending executive review. This type of freeze is common for incoming presidents who wish to monitor, alter or halt any regulations previously influenced by the former administration. The memorandum requires agencies to withdraw unpublished regulations and to cease sending them to the Office of Federal Register (OFR) until the President’s appointee to head the agency or department is capable of reviewing the regulation.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The regulatory freeze presents an interesting opportunity for President Trump’s administration to alter the previous administrations concluding work. NECA looks forward to learning more regarding what regulations will be approved and what Obama-era regulations will be caught up in this process.
2. On Tuesday President Trump signed several Presidential Memoranda realizing a campaign promise to advance the pipeline projects. These executive actions gave the green lights for the NECA-supported Keystone XL and the Dakota Access oil pipelines to resume the process of permitting and construction. President Trump, in conjunction with the pipeline executive actions, issued a memorandum detailing the requirements for construction of the pipelines, which include requirements to utilize U.S.-produced iron and steel.
NECA’s Look Ahead: President Trump’s swift action on reinstating the pipeline projects is a good sign that he will fulfill his campaign promise to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. Even with the executive actions, both pipeline projects still face a cumbersome state permitting process in addition to local opposition. The language used in his Presidential Memoranda defined for the first time what his administration will consider “produced in the United States “ to mean, and similar language is likely to be included in his yet to be released transposition and energy plans.
3. On January 24, 2017, Senate Democrats released a plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure. The “Blueprint to Rebuild Americas Infrastructure” would invest 1 trillion federal dollars into energy and infrastructure projects across the nation and establish an Infrastructure Bank (“I-Bank”) to fund future infrastructure projects. On the same day, President Trump issued an executive order expediting environmental reviews and approval for high priority infrastructure projects.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The Senate Democrat plan is the first major infrastructure blueprint to be released this Congress. Although President Trump’s plan has not been released yet, Secretary Elaine L. Chao is scheduled to be confirmed as Secretary of the Transportation next week. The administration’s Infrastructure plan is expected to be released within the coming weeks. President Trump’s executive order to scale back regulations is expected to be incorporated and expanded into the administration’s plan. Both the Democratic plan and the President’s executive order show that there is a bipartisan and serious effort to establish a plan for rebuilding our nation’s failing infrastructure.