In January President Obama ordered a top-to-bottom review of existing federal regulations telling agencies and departments to come up with ways they could cut red tape and streamline the many requirements the federal government imposes on businesses. This week the Administration is unveiling a slate of regulatory changes it says will businesses more than $10 billion over the next five years. The plan includes about 500 changes aimed at saving businesses money in a variety of ways.
Administration regulation czar Cass Sustein says the plan will eliminate redundancy and inconsistency, especially in the Labor and Transportation departments and the Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA has finalized its plan to review dozens of regulations to ensure they are not overly burdensome. The plan offers the Obama administration an opportunity to counter Republican claims that EPA is imposing new regulations without thinking about their effect on the ailing economy.
Under the final plan, EPA will review 35 regulations. Sixteen of those rules will be reviewed quickly, a process that could lead to modifying, streamlining, expanding or repealing a regulation or related program during the 2011 calendar year. The review of the other 19 regulations will take a longer time period.
The agency says it will reduce reporting and recordkeeping for its gasoline and diesel rules, work with the Agriculture Department to establish regulatory certainty for farmers and better coordinate air pollution rules. In total EPA says regulatory reforms will save more than $1 billion in the coming years.
More broadly, EPA plans to use new technologies to make its regulations more efficient. According to the plan high-speed information technologies allow real-time reporting of emissions and provide unprecedented opportunities for transparency and public involvement in matters affecting local environmental conditions. According to the plan these technological advances allow the agency to better track environmental progress, apply innovative approaches to compliance and reduce regulatory costs.