Attorneys General Becerra and Rosenblum Petition to Intervene and Challenge Trump Administration’s Sophomoric ‘Two for One’ Executive Order

June 5, 2018
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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, filed a motion to intervene in Public Citizen, Inc., et al. vs. Trump, et. al. to directly challenge a Trump Executive Order (Order) that requires most federal agencies to arbitrarily repeal at least two existing regulations for every new major regulation an agency issues. The Order, issued on January 30, 2017, gives no consideration to the benefits and protections lost by Americans from the repeal of duly-enacted regulations. It ignores the federal government’s responsibility to establish specific rules designed to enforce the laws passed by Congress, including those that protect public health and the environment.

“Once again, President Trump is trying to operate outside the rule of law. ‘Two-for-one’ may be a good slogan, but it’s not a rational way to determine what rules we need to protect or guide our families, our health or our finances. It is illegal to scrap regulations without closely considering the benefits and protections they provide Americans or by blatantly ignoring Congressional intent,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Our coalition is therefore asking the court for permission to intervene. We believe that our case is strong, and we are ready to hold the Trump Administration accountable.”

“Oregon is pleased to join our neighboring state, California, in this important motion to intervene. Particularly when it comes to the environment, many federal regulations benefit our two states’ air, land and water equally,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “The idea that two regulations must be repealed for every one that is adopted would be downright silly—if it weren’t so dangerous. This ‘Two-for-One’ Executive Order allows for no consideration of the value of benefits to the states of the repealed regulations—making it downright illegal.”

In their motion to intervene, the Attorneys General assert that the Order requires federal agencies to ignore Congress’ stated regulatory goals in statutes – including critical laws like the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, and the Motor Vehicle Safety Act – and, instead, regulate to satisfy the “two-for-one” benchmark: an arbitrary requirement that falls outside of Congress’ objectives expressed in the statutes. The Attorneys General are therefore asking the court to vacate the Order because it violates:

  • The constitutional separation of powers, by overriding Congressional goals set forth in statute;
  • The President’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” by impeding agencies’ ability to fulfill their statutory mission;
  • The Administrative Procedure Act, by imposing an arbitrary benchmark for rulemaking; and
  • The Ultra Vires Doctrine, because in implementing the Order, the President and the Office of Management and Budget are acting outside of their legal authority.

Referencing the Order, the Administration boasts that agencies are doing “better than 2:1,” noting that they are on pace to “finalize three deregulatory actions for every new regulatory action in FY2018.” Many of the regulations that have been delayed or withdrawn would have addressed matters of critical importance to California, including a rule increasing the federal energy efficiency standards for conventional cooking appliances and another requiring the installation of vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology that would reduce the incidence of car collisions.

A copy of the motion to intervene is attached to the electronic version of this release at