President Obama Tuesday signed an executive order calling for a government-wide review of regulations that are claimed to discourage job creation and make the U.S. economy less competitive.
In an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal on the executive order (12866), the president said sometimes federal rules "have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business -- burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs."
The presidential order calls for a "government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive...We're also making it our mission to root our regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb."
Moreover, "we're...getting rid of absurd and unnecessary paperwork requirements that waste time and money. We're looking at the system as a whole to make sure we avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulations. And finally, today I am directing federal agencies to do more to account for -- and reduce -- the burdens regulations may place on small businesses," Obama said.
"There's plenty of regulations that conflict with respect to the permitting and siting of new natural gas transmission," said Martin Edwards, vice president of legislative affairs for the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.
He said the Natural Gas Act gives the federal government primary authority over gas transmission pipelines, but the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act essentially award the states veto power to block proposed gas pipelines.
Oil and natural gas producers have complained that the new safety regulations for offshore drilling activity and the sluggish pace of permitting have stifled job creation.
"Congress should reclaim some of the authority it has delegated to the agencies and implement effective checks and balances on agency power," said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue. "No major rule or regulation should be exempted from the review, including the recently enacted health care and financial reform laws."
Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for government relations and policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, expressed a similar sentiment. "This is an opportunity for the president to demonstrate results by eliminating unnecessary regulations already in the pipeline or delaying poorly thought-out proposals that are costing jobs," he said. He cited the Environmental Protection Agency's potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions as an example.
In addition to ordering the government-wide review, the executive order "requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth."
Within 120 days of the date of the order, each agency is required to submit to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs a preliminary plan for periodically reviewing its existing significant regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be "modified, streamlined, expanded or repealed."
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said he offered a similar plan in December 2009, which was opposed by the Obama administration. "While I applaud his efforts on this new executive order today, we must go further. That's why I am relaunching the 'No Cost Jobs Plan' today -- a plan we presented to the president and his party last year. Interestingly, though he and his administration didn't embrace it last year, we have noticed pieces of the plan being incorporated by the president [in the executive order]."
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