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Interior Department Announces Regulatory Reform Comment Opportunity

June 22, 2017

In a June 22, 2017 Federal Register notice, the Department of Interior (DOI) became the most recent federal department or agency to initiate a comment cycle to solicit public input on regulations that should be repealed, replaced, or modified, under the direction of a series of Trump Administration Memoranda and Executive Orders on regulatory reform (see Clark Hill's alert on "Regulatory Reform: A Closer Look at Opportunities and Challenges"). DOI joins the Environmental Protection Agency, Commerce Department, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Energy in opening a formal comment process. Other departments and agencies have established regulatory reform workgroups, but have not yet formally sought public comment.   

The DOI notice follows the outlines of President Trump's Executive Order (EO) 13777 of February 24, 2017 on "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda" in seeking comment on regulations that should be considered for repeal, replacement, or modification because they:

  • Eliminate jobs or inhibit job creation;
  • Are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
  • Impose costs that exceed benefits;
  • Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
  • Rely, in part or in whole, on data or methods that are not publicly available or are insufficiently transparent to satisfy standards for reproducibility; or
  • Derive from or implement EOs or other Presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified. 

The notice provides some additional information on regulations and policies DOI is already reviewing for potential regulatory reform action. These include four rules related to oil and gas development that were identified in EO 13783 of March 28, 2017, "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth." They address hydraulic fracking on public lands, non-federal oil and gas rights, and waste prevention, production subject to royalties, and resource conservation. DOI is also working on revisions to regulations governing off-shore energy and valuation of oil, gas, and coal resources, as well as policies on mitigation and climate change. 

The notice does not set a deadline for submitting comments. 

Clark Hill attorneys are experienced in working with clients to develop effective legal strategies and advocacy approaches to address regulatory and deregulatory initiatives. For more information, please contact Karen C. Bennett at | (202) 572-8676; Jane C. Luxton at | (202) 572-8674; Kenneth von Schaumburg at | (202) 772-0904; William J. Walsh at | (202) 772-0924; or another member of Clark Hill's Environment, Energy & Natural Resources practice group.

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