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Trump Administration Pushes to Deregulate With Less Enforcement



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CHICAGO—President Trump’s promises to reverse the regulatory actions of the Obama administration have been stymied by court challenges, but his administration is achieving the goal another way: by not hiring people to do the work of enforcing rules that are on the books.
At the Environmental Protection Agency, where staffing has fallen to Reagan-era levels, there were 10,600 inspections last fiscal year, down from nearly 21,300 at the height of President Obama’s second term, and less than 60% of the annual average since 2001. Civil penalties and criminal prosecutions have hit the lowest levels in decades.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which investigates and regulates workplaces for health and safety issues, has the fewest inspectors in decades, and intensive enforcement has trailed off. At the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created to crack down on unscrupulous small lenders and debt collectors, enforcement is down by 80% from its 2015 peak.

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