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Chronology: Presidential Contributions to Public Health & the Environment



********During the term of the first president of the United States, George Washington (None; Federalist, 1889-1997), the first ten amendments to the Constitution were ratified by the States on Dec. 15, 1791 and have become enshrined as the “Bill of Rights.” Subsequently, there has been a steady progression of laws enacted, executive orders signed and court rulings issued, designed to protect the health of human and animal populations and the ecosystems upon which they depend for survival, beginning with the term of office of America’s second president, John Adams (1797-1801).

With rare exceptions, such progress in protections of public health and/or the environment within the USA continued unabated, under Federalist, Democratic-Republican, Whig, National Union, Republican and Democrat party presidencies. Shortly after January 20, 2017, consequent to the inauguration of President Donald John Trump, the nation’s 45th President, the trend toward dismantling many of these protections for environmental health and environmental sustainability appears to be dramatically accelerating.

Accordingly, it may be useful to review the timeline for such legislation, court rulings, key appointments and executive orders, in order to both place the contemporary deregulations within their historical context and to inform the strategy, going forward, for advocacy on behalf of protecting both public health and environmental sustainability. A chronological summary of such legislation, regulations, executive orders, appointments & pertinent court rulings, during the terms of office of America’s presidents, follows:

President John Adams (Federalist, 1797-1801) signed the Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen in 1798, which consequently led to establishment of marine hospitals along coastal and inland waterways. The first such hospital opened at Washington Point, VA in 1801, during the first year of office of President Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican, 1801-1809), with others later opening in Boston, MA; Newport, RI; New Orleans, LA and Charleston, SC.

President Abraham Lincoln’s (Republican, 1881-1865) signing of the 1st Morrill Act in 1862 established Landgrant Universities in each state of the Union, which ultimately dramatically contributed to food security and health care and economic development, through instruction and research in agriculture, engineering, science, teacher training, business and the humanities. Lincoln’s signing the Emancipation Proclamation, one year later in 1862 certainly led to very gradual improvement in the health and quality of life for the 3,950,528 slaves of African descent in the United States, according to the 1860 census, as well as for their descendants.

The trend toward expanding federal health care services continued under President Ulysses Simpson Grant (Republican, 1869-1877), who reorganized the Marine Hospital Service in 1870, appointed the 1st Supervising Surgeon (later referred to as Surgeon General) in 1871 opened Marine Hospitals to Navy seamen in 1875. In order to prevent the spread of smallpox and yellow fever, President Rutherford Brichard Hayes (1 Republican, 877-1881) signed the National Quarantine Act in 1878 and created the National Board of Health in 1879.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) traces its origins to a one-room laboratory 1887, within the Marine Health Service (MHS), during the presidency of Grover Cleveland (Democrat, 1885-1889 & 1893-1897), who also established the Public Health Service Commissioned Officer Corps in 1889. Congress gave the MHS nation-wide quarantine authority in 1890, when Benjamin Harrison was President (Republican, 1889-1893). In that same year, President Harrison signed the 2nd Morrill Act of 1890, which required the designation or establishment of historically Black Landgrant Colleges in each State that refused to admit students of African descent to their 1862 designated Landgrant Universities. As a result of this action, eighteen predominantly Black Landgrant Universities, together with the array of HBCU’s now produce the vast majority of African-American physicians, nurses, engineers, teachers, as well as a substantial contribution to African-American Masters and Ph.D. degrees. Harrison also signed a New Quarantine Act in 1893, consequent to cholera outbreaks in Europe.

During the presidency of William McKinley (1 Republican, 1897-1901), congress assigned the Marine Hospital Service to investigate leprosy in the USA in 1899. Shortly before his assassination on Sept. 6, 1901 in Buffalo, NY, President McKinley signed the appropriations bill for the Hygienic Laboratory on March 3, 1901.

President Theodore Roosevelt (Republican, 1901-1909) signed the bill in 1902 to transform the MHS into the Public Health & Marine Hospital Service and the Biologics Control Act, “to regulate the transportation or sale for human use of viruses, serums, vaccines, antitoxins, and analogous products in interstate traffic or from any foreign country into the United States.” Teddy Roosevelt’s major environmental contribution was to sign the American Antiquities Act in 1906, which established federal protection for archeological sites on public lands, to preserve such historic, scientific, commemorative, cultural heritage and monuments for future generations.

The eighteen monuments created by Teddy Roosevelt included the Grand Canyon and Olympic National Park in Washington, the Petrified Forest in Arizona and El Moro in New Mexico, together covering over one million acres. Additional National Monuments were later designated under Teddy Roosevelt’s legacy 1906 Antiquities Act by Presidents Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Gamble Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

In 1912, President Howard Taft (Republican, 1909-1913) changed the name of the Public Health & Marine Hospital Service to the Public Health Service and expanded its research mandate to include “diseases of man” and “contributing factors such as pollution of navigable streams.” President Woodrow Wilson’s (Democrat, 1913-1921) contributions to the environment and to public health, respectively, included his signing the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916 and the Chamberlain-Khan Act in 1918, which authorized the study of venereal diseases and the Public Health Service Reserve Corps to combat the 1918 influenza pandemic.

It was President Calvin Coolidge (Republican, 1923-1929) in his last year of office, 1929, who signed the Narcotics Control Act, under which two hospitals to treat drug addicts were authorized and a Narcotics Division was established in the Public Health Service of the Surgeon General.

Two laws were signed in 1930 by President Herbert Clark Hoover (Republican, 1929-1933), specifically, the Ransdell Act, to designate the Hygienic Laboratory as the National Institute of Health, establishment of a Bureau of Narcotics within the Treasury Dept. and designation of the Public Health Service’s (PHS) Narcotics Division to emerge as the Division of Mental Hygiene. Major legislation related to public health under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Democrat, 1933-1945) included the Social Security Act in 1935, which among other initiatives included health grants to states to improve local public health programs and prevent the interstate spread of disease, the establishment of the National Cancer Institute in 1937 and the expansion of the PHS Corps in 1944 to include commissioning of nurses, scientists, dieticians, physical therapists and sanitarians.

Two years later, in 1946, President Harry S. Truman (Democrat, 1945-1953) approved establishment of the Research Grants Office within the PHS and signed the National Mental Health Act “to improve the mental health of U.S. citizens through research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders.” Also in 1946, Truman signed the landmark Hill-Burton Act, which provided funding to states to plan and construct hospitals and public health centers. For each year of the next five years, Truman continued to approve congressional contributions to Public Health, including authorization of a 600 bed clinical research hospital in 1947, the National Microbiological Institute, the Experimental Biology and Medicine Institute and signed the National Dental Research Act, all in 1948, the National Institute of Mental Health in 1949 and the Omnibus Medical Research Act in 1950, which included the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness and the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases.

The tradition of presidential contributions to public health continued full-force under President Dwight David Eisenhower (Republican, 1953-1961), under whose term of office the Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) was established in 1953, both the Mental Health Study Act was signed and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was established in 1955. A flurry of health-related legislation was signed by President Eisenhower was signed during 1956, including initiation of the NIH Division of Research Services, the National Health Survey Act, the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act, the Health Amendments Act and the National Library of Medicine Act. In 1958, Eisenhower signed the Mutual Security Act, which enabled “…collection, translation and dissemination of scientific information and to conduct research and support scientific activities overseas.” This was followed by his signing the International Health Research Act in 1960.

During his short term of office from 1961 to his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (Democrat, 1961-1963) authorized the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, both in 1962, and in 1963 amended the Health Facilities Act of 1956 to facilitate grants for multipurpose facilities for teaching and essential research. On Oct. 31, 1963, only twenty-three days before his untimely death, President Kennedy signed the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act.

The trend toward presidential support for public health and environmental protections for the American public continued with the 1964 signing of the Wilderness Act by President Lyndon Baines Johnson (Democrat, 1963-1969), as well as the Civil Rights Act…, which eventually allowed access to segregated health care facilities and educational opportunities for millions of racial minority citizens. There were highly significant environmental law signing contributions by President Richard Milhous Nixon (1969-1974), particularly the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), both in 1970, as well as the Clean Water Act in 1972 and the Endangered Species Act in 1973.

During the term of office of President Gerald R. Ford (Republican, 1974-1977), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was authorized to regulate toxic chemicals and during the prolific term of office of President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter (Democrat, 1977-1981), the country benefitted from establishment of the Task force on Environmental Cancer and Heart and Lung Disease and signing of the amendment to the Clean Air Act, the initiation of the Food and Agriculture Act, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments and the Saccharin Study and Labeling Act, all in 1977. President Carter also signed extensions of the Community Mental Health Centers Act and the Family Planning, Population and SIDS Amendments, both in 1978, as well as in 1979 established the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Emergency Medical Services Systems Amendments and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Amendments of 1979, further requiring “conduct of a study to determine the effect of aging on the ability of individuals to perform duties of pilots.” In 1980, President Jimmy Carter further commissioned the Secretary of HHS “to conduct a study to determine the long-term effects of hypochloremic metabolic ankylosis resulting from chloride-deficient formulas;” created the federal “Superfund” to clean-up toxic waste sites; revised and re-authorized the National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and mandated research on spinal cord regeneration and neurological disorders.

Throughout the 1980’s, President Ronald Wilson Reagan (Republican, 1981-1989), although advocating weakening certain environmental regulations, which would have adversely impacted enforcement of the Clean Air Act & Clean Water Act, had they not been subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court, did make significant contributions to public health. In particular, reauthorizing the National Research Service Awards and the Medical Libraries Assistance Program in 1981; establishment of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program in 1982; the Orphan Drug Act (to promote development of pharmaceuticals for rare diseases), funding for NIH AIDS research and development of a Biomedical Information Communications Center, all in 1983; the Mary Woodard Lasker Center for Health Research and Education, as well as the National Organ Transplant Act and the Veterans' Dioxin and Radiation Exposure Compensation Standards Act, each in 1984. The Food Security Act of 1985 amended the Animal Welfare Act to establish standards for the humane treatment of animals. Also in 1985, under President Reagan, an information service was established at the National Agricultural Library, in collaboration with the National Library of Medicine.

During President Reagan’s tenure, NIH’s budget suffered major reductions, initially reduced by $236 million and ultimately a 4.3% overall reduction below the 1986 appropriation, as a result of both sequestration and the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (Gramm-Rudman-Hollings). In the 1986 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriation bill, which President Reagan signed, $70 million was allocated for AIDS research and $4.5 million was provided for construction of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in West Virginia. Moreover, in 1986 President Reagan signed the Urgent Supplemental Appropriations Act, which included additional funding for cancer research and an equitable pay structure for VA nurses; the Federal Technology Transfer Act, authorizing federal collaborative R&D agreements, including inter-agency and with universities and private sector; the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Services Research Act; established Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines; and the following year signed the Older Americans Act Amendments, which, inter alia, authorized the President to call a White House Conference on Aging in 1991.

The NIH in 1988, was provided $7.152 billion in the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Act of 1989, including a 1.2% reduction and a line item designation of $96 million for a new National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Three additional Public Laws were signed by President Reagan in 1988, including a stipulation for special pay retention bonuses for certain medical officers, under the National Defense Authorization Act; grants to states to provide life-prolonging medication for AIDS patients; the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Act; the Health Omnibus Programs Extension; as well as establishment of National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Commission on Sleep Disorders, National Commission on AIDS, an Office of AIDS Research, a loan repayment program for NIH scientists engaged in AIDS research, as well as purchase of an advanced design supercomputer under the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

In November of 1989, President Herbert Walker Bush, Republican, who served from 1989-1993, signed into law a provision providing for the construction of biomedical facilities and “a continued supply of specialized strains of mice essential to biomedical research.” He also signed six pertinent pieces of legislation in 1990, such as Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act; the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1990, “to review periodically the appropriate frequency for performing screening mammography;” Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, required NIEHS to conduct a study of mercury exposure; stipulated membership on the Mickey Leland Urban Air Toxics Research Center ; established an inter-agency task force on air pollution; and authorized an NIEHS program of basic research on human health risks from air pollutants. (P.L. 101-549). Additionally, in 1990, President H.W. Bush authorized the National Foundation for Biomedical Research; created the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research; signed the Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act; the Transplant Amendments of 1990; and reauthorized the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry. The following year, President H.W. Bush’s signed Appropriations Act established NCI's Matsunaga-Conte Prostate Cancer Research Center, and a women's health study. The Postal Service and General Government Appropriations Act, 1991, established the PHS senior biomedical research service and “The High Performance Computing Act of 1991, authorized Federal agencies such as NIH to allow recipients of research grant funds to pay for computer networking expenses.”

The George H.W. Bush administration continued with its public health-related initiatives through 1992, such as American Technology Preeminence Act, enabling NIH to give excess research equipment to non-profit organizations and educational institutions for research activities and scientific and technical education; signed the Cancer Registries Act; the Preventive Health Amendments; the SBIR Enhancement Act; the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, for conducting “…a study of the sources of lead exposure in children who have elevated blood lead levels (or other indicators of elevated lead body burden);” and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act, facilitating “biomedical research activities in areas where microgravity environment may contribute to significant progress in the understanding and treatment of diseases and other medical conditions… ”and to "conduct of joint biomedical research activities by the republics of the former Soviet Union and the United States."

President William Jefferson Clinton, Democrat, throughout his presidency 1993-2001, had an extensive record of achievement, as relates to both public health and the environment. Accordingly, the associated legislation and executive orders pertaining to each are separated herein. With respect to Public Health, in his first year of office, President Clinton signed the NIH Revitalization Act; established the Office of Research Integrity; “lifted the moratorium on human fetal tissue transplantation research”; mandated inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research protocols; created in statute the Office of Alternative Medicine; the Office of Minority Health; the Office of Research on Women’s Health; the Office of Biobehavioral and Social Science Research; the National Center for Human Genome Research; Program on OB/GYN; Centers of Excellence; Long Island Breast Cancer Study; Division of Blood Resources; Preventive Health Amendments and authorized $50 million for FY 1994 for research and training related to the etiology, early detection, prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. In the following year, 1994, a consolidated appropriation was made for NIH AIDS research, as well as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

The 1990’s also saw enactment of the NIH Office of Information Resources; the Biotechnology Process Patents Protection Act; reauthorization f the Ryan White Care Act for support of person living with HIV/AIDS; the Traumatic Brain Injury Act; the Safe Drinking Water amendments; the Food & Drug Admin. Regulatory Modernization Act; the Food Safety Research Office; reauthorization of the National Marrow Donor Program; Interagency Committee on Disability Research; the Mammography Quality Standards Reauthorization Act; Federal Employees Health Care Protection Act; National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research; established two new NIH buildings, i.e. the Louis Stokes Laboratories and the Dale & Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Facility; signed the Health Professions Education Partnership Act; Newborn and Infant Screening & Intervention Act; and the Healthcare Research and Quality Act.

During the year 2000, President Clinton signed congressional public health-related legislation, including the Healthcare Research and Quality Act; the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act; the Children’s Health Act of 2000; the Ryan White CARE Act Amendments of 2000; the Needlestick Safety and prevention Act; the Older Americans Act of 2000; the Public Health Improvement Act of 2000; the Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Research and Training program; Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act; Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods Authorization Act; Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance and Protection Act; the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which increased NIH’s budget by 14% to $2.523 billion; Federal Physicians Comparability Allowance Amendments and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Establishment Act.

President Bill Clinton’s Environmental initiatives during the 1990’s included a Forest Conference in Oregon to protect old growth forests; Executive Orders to reduce ozone-depleting materials, establishing the Council of Sustainable Development, the federal action to address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, and reduction of pollution and toxic chemical releases; the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Improvement Act; the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Amendments; California Desert Protection Act; Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act; Fisheries Act of 1995; Water Resources Research Act; Food Quality Protection Act; Yellowstone Protection Agreement to protect the park from mining; Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act; Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty; Brownfields National Partnership; the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act; American Heritage River initiative; National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act; African Elephant Conservation Reauthorization Act; National Wildlife Refuge System Volunteer and Community Partnership Enhancement Act; Border Smog Reduction Act; Fish and Wildlife Revenue Enhancement Act; National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998; Interagency Council on Biobased Products and Bioenergy; Arctic Tundra Habitat Emergency Conservation Act, as well as a new EPA rule strengthening the public's right to know about highly toxic chemicals released to the environment. In February, 2000, President Clinton announced $18.6 million in Forest Legacy grants for 29 projects encompassing nearly 250,000 acres in 19 states and territories.

During President George Walker Bush’s presidency (Republican, 2001-2009), he signed the Animal Disease Risk Assessment, Prevention and Control Act; The Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance Research and Education Amendments of 2001; Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act; Hematological Cancer Research Investment and Education Act; The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002; Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards; Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act of 2002; The Health Care Safety Net Amendments; The Rare Diseases Act; Public Health Service Amendment on Diabetes; United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health Act; Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003; Project Bioshield Act of 2004; Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act of 2004; Pancreatic Islet Cell Transplantation Act of 2004; and ; designates the NIH Muscular Dystrophy Centers as the Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers.

President Barack Hussein Obama (Democrat, 2009-2017) [RE: Environment, Public Health]:

Beginning in 2009, President Obama signed an array of Executive Orders, including Establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls; Establishment of the White House Office of Health Reform; Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration; Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance; the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues; Establishing Federal Capability for the Timely Provision of Medical Countermeasures Following a Biological Attack; Ensuring Enforcement and Implementation of Abortion Restrictions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; established the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Oil Spill & Offshore Drilling, the National Prevention, Health Promotion & Public Health Council, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition; Optimizing the Security of Biological Select Agents and Toxins in the United States; Stewardship pf the Ocean, Our Coasts and the Great Lakes; Establishing the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force; Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Development and Permitting in Alaska; Reducing Prescription Drug Shortages; Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects; Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources; Providing an Order of Succession Within the Environmental Protection Agency; Blocking Property of the Government of the Russian Federation Relating to the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted From Nuclear Weapons; Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions; Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally; Accelerating Investment in Industrial Energy Efficiency; Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families; Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration; Establishing the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force; Combatting Wildlife Trafficking; directing Federal Agencies to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change; Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria; Climate-Resilient International Development; EPA authority to protect streams and wetlands; Federal Flood Risk Management Standard; Paris Climate Change Accord, approved by 195 Nations; EPA Regulation limiting methane emissions from oil & gas industry; Bureau of Land Management ruling limiting “venting, flaring and leaking” of oil & gas; Bureau of Land Management hydraulic fracking rule; Federal moratorium on coal leasing; Memorandum identifying Climate change as a National Security Issue; Exec. Order requires federal agencies to reduce fossil fuels consumption, with a goal of 40%; and the Clean Power Plan, (temporarily held up by the Supreme Court).

In sharp contrast, not only to the Obama and Clinton presidencies, but also to virtually every other Democrat, Republican, Democratic-Republican, Federalist or Whig Party United States President, the current administration of President Donald John Trump (Republican, January 20, 2017 to present) has systematically deregulated environmental and public health protections, for example reversing precedents set over a hundred years ago by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt’s signing of the Wilderness Act, and “reviewing” the landmark Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act congressional laws signed by Republican President Richard Milhous Nixon. A summary of President Trumps pertinent executive orders and regulatory changes follows:

[ N.B. For a more detailed discussion, see: Popovich & Albeck-Ripka “52 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump” NY Times 10/6/2017]

  1. Revoked Obama-era flood standards for federal infrastructure projects
  2. Rejected a proposed ban on a potentially harmful insecticide
  3. Lifted a freeze on new coal leases on public lands
  4. Canceled a requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions
  5. Revoked a rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams
  6. Approved the Keystone XL pipeline
  7. Approved the Dakota Access pipeline
  8. Prohibited funding third-party projects through federal lawsuit settlements, which could include environmental programs
  9. Repealed a ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans
  10. Proposed the use of seismic air guns for gas and oil exploration in the Atlantic
  11. Revoked a 2016 order protecting the northern Bering Sea region in Alaska
  12. Repealed an Obama-era rule regulating royalties for oil, gas and coal
  13. Withdrew guidance for federal agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews
  14. Relaxed the environmental review process for federal infrastructure projects
  15. Announced intent to stop payments to the Green Climate Fund
  16. Dropped proposed restrictions on mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska
  17. Removed the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the endangered list
  18. Overturned a ban on the hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges
  19. Withdrew proposed limits on endangered marine mammals caught by fishing nets on the West Coast
  20. Stopped discouraging the sale of plastic water bottles in national parks
  21. Rescinded an Obama-era order to consider climate change in managing natural resources in national parks
  22. Revoked directive for federal agencies to mitigate the environmental impacts of projects they approve
  23. Directed agencies to stop using an Obama-era calculation of the “social cost of carbon”
  24. Revoked an update to the Bureau of Land Management's public land use planning process
  25. Removed copper filter cake, an electronics manufacturing byproduct, from the “hazardous waste” list
  26. Proposed repeal and replacement of the Clean Power Plan
  27. Announced intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement
  28. Proposed rescinding a rule that protected tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act
  29. Reopened a review of fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks
  30. Recommended shrinking or modifying 10 national monuments
  31. Reviewing 12 marine protected areas
  32. Reviewing limits on toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways
  33. Reviewing rules regulating coal ash waste from power plants
  34. Reviewing emissions standards for new, modified and reconstructed power plants
  35. Reviewing emissions rules for power plant start-ups, shutdowns and malfunctions
  36. Announced plans to review greater sage grouse habitat protections
  37. Announced plans to rescind water pollution regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands
  38. Ordered review of regulations on oil and gas drilling in national parks where mineral rights are privately owned
  39. Reviewing new safety regulations on offshore drilling
  40. Ordered a review of a rule regulating offshore oil and gas exploration by floating vessels in the Arctic
  41. Proposed ending a restriction on exploratory drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  42. Ordered a review of federal regulations on hunting methods in Alaska
  43. Proposed repeal of a requirement for reporting emissions on federal highways
  44. Announced a review of emissions standards for trailers and glider kits
  45. Reviewing a rule limiting methane emissions at new oil and gas drilling sites
  46. Put on hold rules aimed at cutting methane emissions from landfills
  47. Proposed delay of rule limiting methane emissions on public lands
  48. Delayed a lawsuit over a rule regulating airborne mercury emissions from power plants
  49. Delayed a rule aiming to improve safety at facilities that use hazardous chemicals
  50. Continuing review of proposed groundwater protections for certain uranium mines
  51. Delayed compliance dates for federal building efficiency standards
  52. Withdrew a rule that would help consumers buy more fuel-efficient tires

“Some other rules were reinstated after legal challenges. Environmental groups have sued the Trump administration over many of the proposed rollbacks, and, in some cases, have succeeded in reinstating environmental rules.” (Popovich & , op. cit., 2017):

  1. Delayed by one year a compliance deadline for new ozone pollution standards, but later reversed course Mr. Pruitt initially delayed the compliance deadline for a 2015 national ozone standard, but reversed course after 15 states and the District of Columbia sued.

  2. Delayed publishing efficiency standards for household appliances. After being sued by a number of states and environmental groups for failing to publish efficiency standards for appliances including heaters, air conditioners and refrigerators, the Trump administration released its rules on May 26.

  3. Reinstated rule limiting the discharge of mercury by dental offices into municipal sewers

The E.P.A. reinstated an Obama-era rule that regulated the disposal of dental amalgam, a filling material that contains mercury and other toxic metals. The agency initially put the rule on hold as part of a broad regulatory freeze, but environmental groups sued.

The American Dental Association came out in support of the rule. 2017, Aug. 18 H.R. 2430 - FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 2017, Sept. 12 H.R. 3732 - Emergency Aid to American Survivors of Hurricanes Irma and Jose Overseas Act 2017, April 18 H.R. 353 - Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017. Became Public Law 115-25 2017-2018 115th Congress. H.J.Res.43 - Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with title X requirements by project recipients in selecting sub-recipients. 04/13/2017 Became Public Law No: 115-23.

2017-2018 115th Congress H.J.Res.83 - Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to "Clarification of Employer's Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness".
04/03/2017 Became Public Law No: 115-21 Signed on April 3, 2017 H.J.Res. 69, which nullifies the Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service's final rule relating to non-subsistence takings of wildlife on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska

Signed on March 31, 2017 H.J.Res.42 - Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to drug testing of unemployment compensation applicants.

Signed on March 27, 2017 H.J. Res. 44 - Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to Bureau of Land Management regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land

2017, June 1 US Withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate Change Accords announced by President Trump. The Paris agreement has been signed by Syria, the 194th country to join the accords, leaving only the U.S. federal government to announce its withdrawal. July, 2017. U.S. House of Representatives voted to delay implementation of a national ground-level ozone (smog) standard of 70 parts per billion (ppb)

Aug. 1, 2017. “Fifteen states filed suit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit requesting the court to overturn the EPA’s implementation delay. On August 2, 2017, the EPA announced it would reverse its delay of the standards and would move forward with their implementation. EPA officials added that the agency would consider state-specific or regional delays for the standard.” https://ballotpedia.org/Federal_policy_on_ozone_standards,_2017-2020 H.R. 861 – To Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 31, 2018 (115th Congress (2017-2018) Sponsor: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL-1) 02/03/2017. Latest Action: House – 04/25/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Environment**** The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the current Senate Tax Bill provisions “would result in decreasing the number of people with health insurance of 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027.” https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53352

REFERENCES: National Institutes of Health (NIH) Legislative Chronology https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/what-we-do/nih-almanac/legislative-chronology

Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, Dept. of Health & Human Services. History. https://www.usphs.gov/aboutus/history.aspx

Robinson Meyer, “How the U.S. Protects the Environment, From Nixon to Trump A curious person’s guide to the laws that keep the air clean and the water pure.” The Atlantic. MAR 29, 2017 https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/03/how-the-epa-and-us-environmental-law-works-a-civics-guide-pruitt-trump/521001/

Environmental Law Research Guide. Georgetown Law Library. http://guides.ll.georgetown.edu/c.php?g=209325&p=1381408

Clinton White House Archives https://clintonwhitehouse4.archives.gov/CEQ/earthday/ch13.html

Environment Law - Environmental and Natural Resources Law. HG.org Legal Resources https://www.hg.org/environ.html

Federal Policy on Ozone Standards, 2017-2020 https://ballotpedia.org/Federal_policy_on_ozone_standards,_2017-2020

U.S. EPA Laws & Regulations: The Basics of the Regulatory Process. 2017 https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/basics-regulatory-process Bill of Rights Institute https://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/

USC Schwarzenegger Institute, Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook. “An Easy to Use Toolkit for State Legislators to Create Environmental Legislative Action,” A Curated List of Environmental Laws That Both Protect the Environment and Support Economic and Job Growth. http://envirolaws.org/

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “Environmental Health Legislation Database.” Nov. 13, 2017 http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/environmental-health-legislation-database.aspx

QUESTIONS: Are you aware of local impacts on your community of federal deregulation of environmental and/or public health laws? If so, can you specify which deregulation and the local impact they are having?

Have you observed environmental or public health deregulation activity within your State’s government? If so, can you share the details, as well as what community advocacy has occurred, if any, to challenge such deregulation?


environmental-regulations executive-orders deregulation presidents-usa public-health-legislation