Your Chance to Help Overhaul Federal Regulations

I imagine President Obama saw the federal budget impasse coming when, back in January along with the State of the Union address, he issued Executive Order 13563 requiring federal agencies to review and overhaul their regulations to eliminate unnecessary costs and burdens on businesses, and to do it with public participation.
Perhaps he anticipated how the new Congress might seek to radically reduce or eliminate funding for federal regulatory bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Energy (DOE) and others whose regulations form parts of the framework we work within when we try to improve sustainability of industrial facilities. Maybe he’s thinking that having these agencies reach out to the public – and industry – for guidance might endear them to us and make us want to keep them fully funded, or at least around for awhile longer.

The agencies have followed the Executive Order with a flurry of calls for public input. For example, the EPA recently announced “a new periodic retrospective review of our existing significant regulations to determine if any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed, so as to make the Agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.”
It wants you to help it design the plan it will use to periodically review regulations. “For example, you may wish to suggest that we focus our review based upon the impacts of our rules (Offer Your Ideas by Issue or Impact]). We have provided a non-exhaustive list of issues or impacts to help you formulate your ideas, but do not intend to restrict the issues that you may wish to address. Or you may wish to suggest that we evaluate our rules by subject matter, or program area (Offer Your Ideas by Program Area). Or you may have other, general suggestions as to factors we should consider, and the process we should use, to set priorities in selecting rules for review (Offer General Ideas).”

Other agencies are offering similar opportunities, so if you have a favorite troublesome regulation, now’s your opportunity to help get it reviewed. But while it appears to be bending over backwards to accommodate you, EPA is accepting your comments only through March 20, 2011, so don’t delay. Unless you want to wait and see what’s funded in the new budget.

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