[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 233 (Monday, December 5, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 75798-75799]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-31115]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 233 / Monday, December 5, 2011 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 75798]]



DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

5 CFR Chapter XXIII

10 CFR Chapters II, III, X


Reducing Regulatory Burden

AGENCY: Office of the General Counsel, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Request for information.

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SUMMARY: As part of its implementation of Executive Order 13563, 
``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' issued by the President 
on January 18, 2011, the Department of Energy (Department or DOE) is 
seeking comments and information from interested parties to assist DOE 
in reviewing its existing regulations to determine whether any such 
regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed. The 
purpose of DOE's review is to make the agency's regulatory program more 
effective and less burdensome in achieving its regulatory objectives.

DATES: Written comments and information are requested on or before 
January 4, 2012. Reply comments are requested on or before February 3, 
2012.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments, 
identified by ``Regulatory Burden RFI,'' by any of the following 
methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    Email: [email protected]. Include ``Regulatory Burden 
RFI'' in the subject line of the message.
    Mail: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 
1000 Independence Avenue SW., Room 6A245, Washington, DC 20585.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents, or 
comments received, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.
    That Department's plan for retrospective review of its regulations 
can be accessed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/21stcenturygov/actions/21st-century-regulatory-system.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Cohen, Assistant General 
Counsel for Legislation, Regulation, and Energy Efficiency, U.S. 
Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 1000 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. Email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 18, 2011, the President issued 
Executive Order 13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' 
to ensure that Federal regulations seek more affordable, less intrusive 
means to achieve policy goals, and that agencies give careful 
consideration to the benefits and costs of those regulations. To that 
end, the Executive Order requires, among other things, that:
     Agencies propose or adopt a regulation only upon a 
reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs; and that 
agencies tailor regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives, taking into 
account, among other things, and to the extent practicable, the costs 
of cumulative regulations; and that agencies, consistent with 
applicable law, select, in choosing among alternative regulatory 
approaches, those approaches that maximize net benefits (including 
potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity).
     The regulatory process encourages public participation and 
an open exchange of views, with an opportunity for the public to 
comment.
     Agencies coordinate, simplify, and harmonize regulations 
to reduce costs and promote certainty for businesses and the public.
     Agencies consider low-cost approaches that reduce burdens 
and maintain flexibility.
     Regulations be guided by objective scientific evidence.

Additionally, the Executive Order directs agencies to consider how best 
to promote retrospective analyses of existing rules. Specifically, 
agencies were required to develop a plan under which the agency will 
periodically review existing regulations to determine which should be 
maintained, modified, strengthened, or repealed to increase the 
effectiveness and decrease the burdens of the agency's regulatory 
program.
    At the time of issuance of the Executive Order, the Department took 
two immediate steps to launch its retrospective review of existing 
regulatory and reporting requirements. First, the Department issued a 
Request for Information (RFI) seeking public comment on how best to 
review its existing regulations and to identify whether any of its 
existing regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or 
repealed. Second, the Department created a link on the Web page of 
DOE's Office of the General Counsel to an email in-box at 
[email protected], which interested parties can use to 
identify to DOE--on a continuing basis--regulations that may be in need 
of review.
    Additionally, and based on comments received through the RFI, the 
Department developed a plan for the periodic review of its existing 
regulations and reporting obligations. That plan was released in August 
2011 and can be accessed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/21stcenturygov/actions/21st-century-regulatory-system.
    The Department is committed to maintaining a consistent culture of 
retrospective review and analysis. Its plan sets forth a process for 
identifying significant rules that are obsolete, unnecessary, 
unjustified, excessively burdensome, or counterproductive. Once such 
rules have been identified, DOE will, after considering public input on 
any proposed change, determine what action is necessary or appropriate. 
Moreover, DOE's initial identification of rules meriting review does 
not represent the completion of the retrospective review process. 
Instead, DOE will continually engage in review of its rules to 
determine whether there are burdens on the public that can be avoided 
by amending or rescinding existing requirements. To that end, while the 
Department is always open to receiving information about the impact of 
its regulations, it is publishing today's RFI to solicit public input 
again.
    While the Department promulgates rules in accordance with the law 
and to the best of its analytic capability, it is difficult to be 
certain of the consequences of a rule, including its costs and 
benefits, until it has been tested. Because knowledge about the

[[Page 75799]]

full effects of a rule is widely dispersed in society, members of the 
public are likely to have useful information and perspectives on the 
benefits and burdens of existing requirements and how regulatory 
obligations may be updated, streamlined, revised, or repealed to better 
achieve regulatory objectives, while minimizing regulatory burdens. 
Interested parties may also be well-positioned to identify those rules 
that are most in need of review and, thus, assist the Department in 
prioritizing and properly tailoring its retrospective review process. 
In short, engaging the public in an open, transparent process is a 
crucial step in DOE's review of its existing regulations.

List of Questions for Commenters

    The following list of questions represents an attempt by the 
Department to assist in the formulation of comments and is not intended 
to restrict the issues that may be addressed. In addressing these 
questions or others, DOE requests that commenters identify with 
specificity the regulation or reporting requirement at issue, providing 
legal citation where available. The Department also requests that the 
submitter provide, in as much detail as possible, an explanation why a 
regulation or reporting requirement should be modified, streamlined, 
expanded, or repealed, as well as specific suggestions of ways the 
Department can better achieve its regulatory objectives.
    (1) How can the Department best promote meaningful periodic reviews 
of its existing rules and how can it best identify those rules that 
might be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed?
    (2) What factors should the agency consider in selecting and 
prioritizing rules and reporting requirements for review?
    (3) Are there regulations that are or have become unnecessary, 
ineffective, or ill advised and, if so, what are they? Are there rules 
that can simply be repealed without impairing the Department's 
regulatory programs and, if so, what are they?
    (4) Are there rules or reporting requirements that have become 
outdated and, if so, how can they be modernized to accomplish their 
regulatory objectives better?
    (5) Are there rules that are still necessary, but have not operated 
as well as expected such that a modified, stronger, or slightly 
different approach is justified?
    (6) Does the Department currently collect information that it does 
not need or use effectively to achieve regulatory objectives?
    (7) Are there regulations, reporting requirements, or regulatory 
processes that are unnecessarily complicated or could be streamlined to 
achieve regulatory objectives in more efficient ways?
    (8) Are there rules or reporting requirements that have been 
overtaken by technological developments? Can new technologies be 
leveraged to modify, streamline, or do away with existing regulatory or 
reporting requirements?
    (9) How can the Department best obtain and consider accurate, 
objective information and data about the costs, burdens, and benefits 
of existing regulations? Are there existing sources of data the 
Department can use to evaluate the post-promulgation effects of 
regulations over time? We invite interested parties to provide data 
that may be in their possession that documents the costs, burdens, and 
benefits of existing requirements.
    (10) Are there regulations that are working well that can be 
expanded or used as a model to fill gaps in other DOE regulatory 
programs?
    The Department notes that this RFI is issued solely for information 
and program-planning purposes. While responses to this RFI do not bind 
DOE to any further actions related to the response, all submissions 
will be made publically available on http://www.regulations.gov.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on November 28, 2011.
Sean A. Lev,
Acting General Counsel, Department of Energy.
[FR Doc. 2011-31115 Filed 12-2-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P