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Interior Embarks on Regulatory Reform Program

Following through on one of President Trump's executive orders (EO), the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) has launched a regulatory reform package and is seeking public comments on its potentially sweeping scope.

The package was posted Thursday in the Federal Register. DOI, which includes the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Parks Service and U.S. Geological Survey, wants to implement reform initiatives and identify regulations for "repeal, replacement or modification," in response to EO 13777, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda."

The notice lists eight reasons that regulations should be candidates for repeal, replacement or modification, including eliminating government jobs or stimulating private sector positions; outdated rules; rule costs exceed benefits; inconsistent rules; and basis for rules was not transparent.

Earlier this year DOI established a regulatory reform task force to "closely examine" all regulatory actions in process to identify "potential deregulatory actions to ensure compliance with regulatory reform goals."

DOI wants to require agencies to issue two "deregulatory actions" for each new significant regulatory action. The department noted it has undertaken deregulation in several areas, including BLM's resource management planning requirements; closing the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, and for stream protections in the Office of Mining.

"Interior is in the process of reviewing existing regulations (significant and nonsignificant) to identify actions that can be repealed," the notice said.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been proactive on the reform agenda. Earlier this week he defended the DOI’s proposed $11.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2018 and said the department was "moving prudently" to fill positions in field offices while limiting hires in Washington, DC.

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