Aug 26 2011

Department of Commerce submits plan to comply with Obama regulatory review

The Department of Commerce has submitted its plan to comply with President Obama’s Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”.   The General Counsel of the Department of Commerce, Cameron Kerry, will be responsible for overseeing execution of the retrospective analysis laid out in the Plan.

According to the plan:

Many of NOAA’s statutory mandates emphasize the need to base decisions on best scientific information available and require periodic review of regulatory actions. In addition, many of NOAA’s activities require analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Council on Environmental Quality has indicated that environmental impact statements that are more than 5 years old should be carefully reexamined to determine if supplementary analyses are required per 40 C.F.R. § 1502.9 of the CEQ regulations. See (explaining need for supplements to old EIS at question # 32 of “NEPA’s Forty Most Asked Questions”).

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) intends to reinforce the existing culture of retrospective analysis through increased outreach to the Regional Fishery Management Councils that develop fishery management plans pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The Councils’ fishery management planning process entails significant public participation and opportunities for soliciting thoughts on needed modifications to or repeal of regulatory actions. NMFS has begun, and will continue, to coordinate with the councils, emphasizing the need for scrutiny of proposed and existing regulations consistent with Executive Order 13563, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other relevant laws, and the need to make fisheries management regulations simpler and easier to follow. NMFS intends to encourage such scrutiny of regulatory actions through its meetings with the Council Coordination Committee and during meetings of the councils and their subcommittees.

As part of the agency’s Catch Share Policy, NOAA has provided further guidance to the Councils regarding periodic review of all limited access privilege programs pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 1853a(c)(1)(G). Specifically, the agency directs that Councils should periodically review all catch share and non-catch share programs to ensure that management goals are specified, measurable, tracked, and used to gauge whether a program is meeting its goals and objectives. The policy reinforces NOAA’s commitment to working with Councils, stakeholders, the Department of Commerce, the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress in improving and monitoring useful and relevant performance metrics for all U.S. fishery management policies, not just catch share programs.

Additional plan sections referenceing NMFS include:

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Regional Fishery Management Councils established under the Magnuson-Stevens Act have ongoing engagement with constituents and other members of the public on fishery management actions. NMFS and the Councils receive continual feedback on concerns regarding regulations, guidance documents, information collections, and other agency activities. Since publication of the notice, NMFS has used outreach and communication opportunities, as they have arisen, to alert members of the public to the notice and to encourage people to provide feedback.

The vast majority of NOAA’s significant regulations involve marine fishery and protected resources issues. These regulations are subject to change frequently as a result of new information and also pursuant to statutory requirements.

NOAA is currently undertaking the following actions to review its rulemaking, in many cases to streamline and reduce requirements:

Read the rest on or the complete document here.

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