OMB’s Latest ‘Unified Agenda’ Continues Focus on Deregulation

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Environmental by on October 31, 2018 0 Comments

regulationsThe Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently released its Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, signaling the Trump Administration’s continued focus on deregulatory actions.

While federal agencies have been required for over 25 years to share planned regulatory actions with the public under Executive Order (E.O.) 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” the bi-annual agendas have taken on added significance with the Administration’s deregulatory focus. For example, E.O. 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” requires federal agencies to repeal two existing regulations for each new one proposed. This emphasis is illustrated through the inclusion of new information on the status of federal agencies achieving the two-for-one regulatory mandate by the Administration.

However, key rulemakings such as the repeal of the Obama Administration’s “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) regulatory definition under the Clean Water Act, as well as the Trump Administration proposed WOTUS replacement, have been further delayed. In addition, some regulatory items that had been a high priority for former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have been reclassified as “Long-Term Actions,” meaning EPA does not expect to propose such rules for at least a year.

Here is a select list of major deregulatory and regulatory actions that NAHB staff continue to monitor.

When looking at the dates, remember that the purpose of Unified Agendas is to communicate what the federal agencies plan to do over the coming year, not to determine what will actually occur.

Wetlands

  • Creating a New WOTUS Definition: EPA plans to propose a new WOTUS definition this month, with finalization in September 2019.
  • Revising the Approval Process for Wetland Mitigation Banks and In-Lieu Fee Programs: EPA plans to initiate updates to the 2008 Mitigation Rule in March 2019.
  • Streamlining Clean Water Act Section 404(c): EPA plans to initiate a rulemaking to simplify and clarify the veto process for federal dredge-and-fill permits in June 2019.
  • Updating Regulations Regarding State 404 Program Assumption: EPA schedules a proposed rule in March 2020 with finalization in March 2021.

Air Quality

  • Developing the Affordable Clean Energy Rule: The replacement of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan is expected in March 2019.

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

  • Proposed rule to streamline the ESA’s Section 7 Consultation process: In September the Trump Administration proposed changes to the Section 7 Consultation process; a final rule is expected in early 2019.
  • Proposed rule revising the species listing process and the designation of critical was also released in September and a final rule is expected in early 2019.
  • Proposal by U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) to remove an existing regulation that had prevented FWS from using flexibilities granted under the ESA for activities impacting threatened species; a final rule is expected by early 2019.
  • Revising ESA Section 10 permitting process: The Department of the Interior plans to propose revisions for permitting the take of endangered/threatened species in a proposed rule expected in December 2018.
  • Revising ESA policies for how federal agencies should consider the economic costs resulting from critical habitat designation; a proposal is expected in early 2019.

Regulatory Reform

  • Increasing Consistency for Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Environmental Regulations: EPA plans to begin a rulemaking for increasing consistency in the methods for conducting cost/benefit analysis in May 2019.

We’ll keep you updated on the rulemakings and NAHB’s involvement with them. Contact Michael Mittelholzer with questions at 800-368-5242 x8660.

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