On The Origin Of Species Of Federal Rules, Regulations And Guidance Documents

Editor’s Note: For additional information about the rulemaking process, please see the OIRA Teaching Modules.

From: Forbes

Numerous laws and executive orders have governed the federal rulemaking process since the 1940s. Along with specifying oversight and disclosure for the regulatory enterprise, they have spawned complex rule classifications and nomenclature

A chart nearby lists the many designations in play, along with newer characterizations that the  115th Congress’s leading regulatory reform vehicle would bring to the menu, in the event it were to pass. Let’s walk through the Red Tape Roll Call.

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Book Review: The Cost-Benefit Revolution, by Cass Sunstein

Editor’s Note: Read: The Evolution of Benefit Cost Analysis into Federal Rulemaking and The Iconic Executive Order 12291 which augment the material presented in the post below.

From: Financial Times

A valuable study of a quiet victory for technocrats

Review by


The book makes three valuable contributions: it relates the history of cost-benefit analysis in US policymaking ; it tackles the economist Friedrich Hayek’s argument that technocrats simply don’t know enough to weigh costs and benefits; and it makes a case that cost-benefit analysis could reduce political tribalism.

Using Blockchain to Improve Regulatory Analysis and Reform

Editor’s Note: Cross-posted from the Regulatory Cybersecurity/FISMA Focus forum.

From: The Regulatory Review

Blockchain could provide essential data on the effectiveness of regulations.

Blockchain technology could be used to change the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) from static documentation of regulations into a dynamic source of reliable information on regulatory impact. With a simple search, anyone could determine how long permit approvals take, which firms or industries are most affected, which regulations require the most paperwork, and any data available on the benefits of regulation.

When US presidents push for regulatory reform, liberal agency rules may be first in the firing line.

Editor’s Note: OIRA’s review of regulations rests on a formidable foundation, read The Iconic Executive Order 12291: The Precedent for the Preservation of Critical Executive Orders.

From: LSE USCentre

One of the concrete achievements of the Trump administration in the last 18 months has been the rapid removal of a great deal of existing regulation. But what kinds of regulations tend to be recommended for modification or removal? Simon F. Haeder and Susan Webb Yackee have studied the role of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs or OIRA in government rulemaking and find that OIRA frequently recommends changes to rules proposed by agencies which tend to lean to the left politically, such as the Environmental Protection Agency. As Trump moves to expand OIRA’s powers, they warn that this may have significant implications for policy outcomes felt across the United States for the years to come.

How has Trump’s deregulatory order worked in practice?

From: Brookings

[Brookings] Editor’s Note: This report is part of the Series on Regulatory Process and Perspective and was produced by the Brookings Center on Regulation and Markets.

Connor Raso

The Trump administration’s executive order requiring agencies to eliminate two rules for every new rule (“one in, two out”) has received a great deal of attention but little analysis of how it has worked in practice. Has the order chilled regulation that imposes new costs altogether? Or have agencies added new rules that impose costs while diligently eliminating old ones?  Or have agencies managed to skirt the order and issue rules that impose new costs without providing deregulatory offsets?  In short, how has the order actually affected rulemaking?

Improving Regulatory Transparency Through Retrospective Analysis

Editor’s Note: See also Retrospective Regulatory Review in the States: Arkansas.

From: The Regulatory Review

Given its recent advance notice, EPA should implement retrospective analysis of its regulations in several ways.

How well do environmental regulations perform? Are environmental standards “job-killing regulations” that merit elimination? Does environmental policy strike a balance of reducing pollution without undermining economic growth?

Thoughtful policy debates about the future of environmental regulation require rigorous, transparent evidence addressing these questions. Evaluating the performance of regulations—through retrospective analysis of their impacts, benefits, and costs—can play a critical role in informing these debates. Indeed, these analyses can illustrate whether fully-implemented regulations are making the whole of society better off.

Retrospective Regulatory Review in the States: Arkansas

From: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Scrap more than 800 rules, state agencies advise

Many regulations obsolete

State agencies want to repeal 830 of their rules, about a quarter of those in existence.

The agencies started with 3,380 rules that are under review by virtue of a 2017 state law that triggered the accounting.

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Crossing the Regulatory Divide to Enhance Societal Well-Being

From: The Regulatory Review

Requiring EPA cost-benefit analysis could ensure that regulations do more good than harm.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently has taken a historic step to advance the “cost-benefit state,” the paradigm in which “government regulation is increasingly assessed by asking whether the benefits of regulation justify the costs of regulation.”

EPA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking soliciting public comment on whether and how EPA should create rules for weighing costs and benefits when implementing statutes. EPA also requested comment on specific analytic approaches to quantifying costs and benefits.

The Trump administration might be deregulating more than you know (or could know)

From: The Washington Post | Monkey Cage

By Simon F. Haeder, Susan Webb Yackee

Since President Trump took office last year, his administration has been working to undo many Obama-era regulations affecting clean waternational parksenergy production and more. Most recently, President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has proposed weakening Obama-era regulations on coal-fired power plants.

But there could be still more deregulating underway than most government watchers realize. Trump — like many presidents of both parties — is using the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to change regulations before they are issued. And while these changes can be significant, the public has little or no ability to learn about them.

OIRA Sends a Smoke Signal on Independent Agencies

Editor’s Note: See A Blueprint for OMB Review of Independent Agency Regulations (2002).

From: Notice & Comment | A Blog from the Yale Journal on Regulation and the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice

by Bridget C.E. Dooling

One of the most intriguing, unanswered questions about this Administration’s approach to regulatory policy is whether they’ll pull independent agencies in for some form of review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Although this issue has been kicked around for decades, President Trump’s appointment of Neomi Rao to the post of OIRA Administrator suggested it was going to be a key issue because of her scholarship as a law professor. A recent OIRA memo demonstrates ongoing appetite to rein in independents.