EPA Deregulatory Actions to Outweigh Impact of New Rules in 2018
On Dec. 14, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Semiannual Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and Regulatory Plan as part of the government-wide Unified Agenda—setting the path for the agency over the next year. Reworking Waters of the United States and the fly ash disposal rules and a new spill prevention rule for hazardous substances are on the list. Looking ahead, EPA’s regulatory outlook tells us that the agency expects to finalize more deregulatory actions than it does regulatory actions in fiscal year 2018, with cost savings to outweigh costs of new regulatory actions.
EPA’s Fall 2017 Regulatory Agenda includes 47 regulatory and 54 deregulatory actions that are under development or review as well as rules expected to be proposed or finalized with the next year. Of particular interest to contractors, the Regulatory Agenda includes the repeal and replacement of the 2015 Waters of the United States Rule (see related article this issue), which will remain a focus for the agency. AGC also notes that the agency is reworking the 2015 coal combustion residual disposal rule (e.g., fly ash). Although AGC was pleased that EPA preserved many forms of recycling/beneficial use common to construction, the rule itself has been controversial and is currently under litigation. AGC also has been tracking a new spill prevention rule for hazardous substances that EPA included on the current actions list. Finally, the agency will continue to fulfill its statutory obligation to periodically review National Ambient Air Quality Standards, on which AGC reports frequently because of the potential for disruption of highway funding in areas that are not in attainment of the standards.
Another issue of note is the delayed schedule for determining whether or not to propose lead paint “work practice” rules for public and commercial buildings (which moved to EPA’s long-term list in the spring and has remained there this fall).
Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs
In addition to the Unified Agenda, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a status report on implementation of President Trump’s “two-for-one” regulatory requirement, identifying 67 deregulatory actions finalized in FY 2017 and setting regulatory cost caps for agencies in FY 2018. The status report covers the first eight months of the Administration and shows that the agencies have saved $570 million in regulatory costs per year.
Regulatory Budgets in Fiscal Year 2018
OMB’s status report lists agencies’ FY 2018 regulatory caps, all of which show negative or zero regulatory costs. For example, the Department of Interior and the Department of Labor have annualized costs for FY 2018 -$196 million and -$137 million respectively – compared to U.S. EPA’s FY 2018 regulatory budget, which is -$40 million. Altogether, the final regulatory cost allowances show that agencies commit to accomplishing $686 million in annualized cost savings in FY 2018.
For more information, contact AGC’s Melinda Tomaino at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 837-5415.
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