Another Example of How Regulatory Reform Eliminates Unnecessary Costs for Americans

To win the future, we need a regulatory system that will promote economic growth, competitiveness, and job creation while also protecting our environment and the health and safety of the American people. On January 18, 2011, President Obama signed an important Executive Order designed to achieve that goal. Among other things, the Executive Order directs agenciesto consider comments from the public, to choose the least burdensome approaches, to ensure that the benefits of regulation justify the costs, and within 120 days, to produce plans for review of significant regulations that are now on the books.

In the short period since it was signed, agencies across the federal government have taken fresh steps to improve regulations, reducing costs, incorporating input from stakeholders and the public, and updating rules that impose unintended or excessive burdens on the American people.

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the most recent of these smart steps toward eliminating unnecessary costs on the American public and American businesses. In direct response to feedback from stakeholders in the agriculture community, EPA concluded that an unintended result of the current Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) program – which is designed to prevent oil spill damage to inland waters and shorelines – has been to place unjustifiable burdens on dairy farmers and producers. As a result, today EPA announced that it has updated this important rule to exempt milk and milk product containers. This sensible decision will save the milk and dairy industries as much as $140 million per year.

To ensure that this rule didn’t harm the agriculture community while the mandatory regulatory process proceeded, EPA had previously delayed SPCC compliance requirements for milk and milk product containers.

Today’s rule reflects the Administration’s commitment to streamlining unjustified regulations and to common-sense, responsive, cost-sensitive, and transparent rulemaking.

This is just one step among many. In the recent past, other agencies – including the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services – have also taken major steps to reconsider, streamline, or eliminate proposed or final rules and requirements that seem unduly burdensome or that deserve fresh thinking. And on May 18, agencies will be submitting preliminary plans, reflecting their efforts to revise, simplify, or repeal their existing rules.

Stay tuned. Much more is on the way.

Cass Sunstein is Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Related Topics: Economy
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