In Trump freeze, US agencies delay rules affecting farm towns
Farmer Standing in Field (Shutterstock)

The Environmental Protection Agency will delay implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard and the Agriculture Department will pause rules affecting livestock as part of a freeze on regulations imposed by President Donald Trump's administration, trade groups said on Tuesday.

Trump's regulatory freeze has created uncertainties in rural communities - areas which helped propel him into office.

The Trump administration put a hold on new regulations immediately after he was sworn in last week, leading to the delayed implementation of 30 EPA rules that were finalized in the last weeks of Barack Obama's presidency. That included new standards for blending biofuels with oil-based fuels.

Representatives of the EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Renewable Fuels Association, an industry group, said it did not expect the procedural delay to lead to any significant changes to the fuels standard. The delayed fuel rules will be implemented on March 21, according to a federal register notice.

At the USDA, "they put a regulatory freeze on everything that is in the pipeline," said Dave Warner, spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council.

The agency has put on hold new rules it had formerly said would help protect meat producers from mistreatment by packing companies and processors, Warner said. The pork council opposes the measures, saying they are not necessary.

New rules that would for the first time mandate specific space requirements for hens laying organic eggs also are affected by the freeze, he said.

Trump won nearly two-thirds of the rural vote in November, with big agricultural states including Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and Indiana all lining up for the Republican.

It was not immediately clear when or if the frozen USDA rules would be implemented.

(Reporting by Chris Prentice in New York and Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by Paul Simao and Andrew Hay)