CRE Comments on Arctic ICRs

On March 25, 2015, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness filed comments with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on Information Collection Requests 201404- 1014-004 and 201311-1010-003. These ICRs are part of the Arctic Drilling rules proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Click here for CRE’s entire comments.

Their Executive Summary is set forth below (footnotes omitted).

“OMB should not approve the requested Arctic ICRs because BSEE has not produced a record showing that the ICRs comply with the Information Quality Act (‘IQA’). For example, there is no record demonstrating that BSEE performed pre-dissemination review to determine and demonstrate that the proposed Arctic Rules, their draft Environmental Assessment (‘EA’), and their Cost Benefit Analysis comply with the IQA. Therefore, these ICRs violate the Department of Interior’s IQA Guidelines and OMB’s Government-wide IQA Guidelines, both of which apply to BSEE. BSEE’s Cost Benefit Analysis violates IQA requirements for several other reasons, including its lack of sensitivity analysis; and its lack of cost-effectiveness analysis for proven alternatives to some unproven technologies and measures that were selected by BSEE. These unproven technologies and measures include Same Season Relief Rigs (‘SSRR’).

These ICRs also violate OMB’s Peer Review Bulletin, which is published under the IQA, because BSEE did not perform peer review of the proposed Arctic Rules and their EA and Cost Benefit Analysis.

BSEE states that there are many uncertainties regarding the costs and benefits of the Arctic Rules, and ‘Due to these uncertainties, BOEM and BSEE could not perform a standard cost benefit analysis to estimate the net benefits of the proposed rule.’ Under OMB Circular A-4, BSEE should defer these regulations and ICRs until and unless BSEE can develop sufficient data to perform ‘a standard cost-benefit analysis’ for them.

BSEE has not identified a public record showing the effectiveness of its selected technologies and other measures. This omission violates both the IQA and the Administrative Procedure Act.

For the above and other reasons, BSEE has not demonstrated that the requested ICRs have practical utility.

OMB should not approve these ICRs. OMB should advise BSEE that OMB would review new ICRs if and when BSEE submits ICRs that remedy the failings and flaws discussed in CRE’s comments and in other comments submitted during the public comment period.

The failings and flaws of these ICRs indicate an agency-wide misunderstanding of and/or lack of concern for IQA Requirements. Consequently, OMB should advise BSEE and BOEM to come into compliance with the IQA requirements by, e.g., publishing BSEE and BOEM’s own IQA guidelines, publishing their own Peer Review Agendas, and routinely performing IQA pre-dissemination review.”

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