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2020 Election Update

Analysis from PESA Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley

President Trump has so far refused to concede in the presidential election and has filed lawsuits in several states with close vote counts. Many of these cases have faced legal setbacks and none appear likely to change the results of the election.

It is becoming clearer that former Vice President Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next president in January. The balance of power in the Senate will come down to the two special elections in Georgia, and campaigning for these races is already fully in swing.

President-elect Biden announced he will begin making cabinet appointments after Thanksgiving, so stay tuned to future PESA updates for details and analysis. This week, in addition to naming Ron Klain as his Chief of Staff, he announced Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti as senior advisors, and Jen O’Malley Dillon as his Deputy Chief of Staff.

Current Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond will resign his seat in Congress to become a senior advisor to Biden and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

The media is full of stories about Biden repealing several Trump executive orders and executive actions on his first day in office. Many of these potential targets are related to regulatory reform and regulatory policy, so they are relevant to the OFS sector and the energy industry as a whole.

While some of these orders have not been fully implemented and some are still being litigated, it is still important to consider the implications of partial or full repeal of these reforms in the early part of next year. The below discussion assumes that Biden will repeal all of Trump executive orders, as he indicated he will. It’s possible that he may amend a few and leave some elements in place. It is too early to know at this point.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 13771: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs
Trump issued EO 13771 in January 2017, which required agencies to eliminate two old regulations for each new regulation issued for the remainder of fiscal year 2017. The order also established procedures for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to determine annual regulatory cost allowances for agencies.

This is known as the “two out, one in” law and had long been advocated by government reform advocates who argued agencies were issuing too many regulations, which hampered business and added unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses. The EO has been used to eliminate regulations and limit the implementation of new ones.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 13783: Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth
Perhaps most impactful to our industry, EO 13783 set forth Trump’s energy plan by removing several Obama-era regulatory actions. The order reversed President Obama’s moratorium on new coal mining leases on federal lands, and his executive actions on fracking and methane on public lands.

Additionally, the EO removed consideration of greenhouse gases from permit reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act and eliminated a cost-benefit analysis in regulatory review called the “Social Cost of Carbon.” Many of these elements are likely to come back as part of Biden’s energy plan.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 13891: Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents
EO 13891 prohibited agencies from implementing binding policies through guidance documents. This EO is intended to slow regulatory agencies from changing policies without using proper channels, which require giving business and citizens time to comment and take part in the process.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 13892: Promoting the Rule of Law Through Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement and Adjudication (2019)
Similar to EO 13891, EO 13892 requires administrative agencies to give the public fair notice of new regulations and to provide ample time for public comment and engagement.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 13924: Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery
EO 13924 gives discretion to regulatory agencies to temporarily suspend some regulations to spur economic recovery during the coronavirus crisis.

For more information or to join the next meeting of PESA’s Government Affairs Committee, contact PESA Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.



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