The executive branch of the American system of governance maintains a privilege whereby executive orders (EOs) may be issued to direct executive agency functions, fill technical gaps, or address policies not contemplated by Congressional mandate.
Executive orders are not law; their rightful scope simply administers statutory mandates enacted by the U.S. Congress. They apply only to the executive branch departments and agencies.
Recent administrations have attempted to poach Article I, Section I Constitutional powers through the EO process, ceding to themselves authority where none exists. This process has vastly expanded the visible scope of executive agency powers. In many cases, these federal agencies do not possess the authority they espouse. Similarly, because courts don’t make law, court decisions, rulings, and edicts absent of Congressional approval may not constitute authority sufficient for major actions to proceed.
When a federal agency proposes a major action in jurisdictions governed by KNRC member counties, our research team first conducts a consistency assessment to determine if the proposal is in keeping with foundational Congressional statutes and mandates. If the scope of the action proves consistent with statutory authorities, the next step is to review executive orders requiring federal agencies to coordinate with each KNRC county. We then assess environmental impact statements, review cost-benefit analysis, and ensure that other study requirements have been fulfilled. Finally, the consistency assessment will determine if the proposal meets National Environmental Policy Act mandates protecting human systems, industry, the economy, agriculture and local culture.
KNRC has observed that agency personnel are often ignorant of statutory requirements for the proposals they forward, typically relying on policy manuals, memoranda, letters and similar transitory non-regulatory documents produced at the local level — documents that may not be consistent with law.
The following executive orders are of particular importance to KNRC’s activities:
- EO 11514 – Creation of Council on Environmental Quality
- EO 12114 – Environmental Considerations Abroad
- EO 12291 – Regulatory Burden Analysis
- EO 12372 – Intergovernmental Coordination
- EO 12630 – Non Interference with Property Rights
- EO 12866 – Cost Benefit Analysis Requirements
- EO 12898 – Environmental Justice
- EO 13352 – Cooperative Conservation
- EO 13563 – Obama Improving Regulatory Review
- EO 13575 – Sustainable Development Rural Areas 21