American Coatings Association

DOC Report Addresses Streamlining Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing

federal priorities

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) released its report, “Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing.” The report reflects input from stakeholders, including ACA, who submitted comments in response to DOC’s Request for Information (RFI) on the impact of federal permitting regulations and particularly onerous regulations on U.S. manufacturers. DOC’s RFI stemmed from President Trump’s Memorandum, “Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing,” issued on Jan. 24, 2017, as well as his Feb. 24-issued Executive Order, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” The executive order directs federal executive agencies to create Regulatory Reform Task Forces (RRTF) and designate an agency official as its Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO). The order mandates each RRO to oversee the implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies.

DOC’s report summarizes many of the salient recommendations raised by industry and presents the department’s recommendations for streamlining the federal permitting processes and reducing the regulatory burdens that affect domestic manufacturing.

Notably, the DOC report highlights several of the regulations and issues raised by ACA, under the “Priority Regulatory and Permitting Issues” section. These include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 8-Hour Ozone Standard and “Once-in, Always-in” Policy Under National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Source Categories, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.

DOC’s report makes three major recommendations based on the RFI responses:

  1. Each agency’s RRTF should deliver to the President an “Action Plan” in response to all permitting and regulatory issues highlighted in the responses to the RFI, with attention to the “Priority Areas for Reform” section located at the end of the report.
  2. Creating an annual, open forum for regulators and industry stakeholders to evaluate progress in reducing regulatory burdens, since there is no current regular process for consultations with industry to identify specific actions the federal government can take to eliminate unduly burdensome regulations and accelerate permitting decisions; and
  3. Expanding the Model Process under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41).

The FAST Act contains various provisions aimed at streamlining the environmental review process, with improved agency coordination through the Coordinated Project Plan and a Permitting Dashboard. Covered projects will typically enjoy better coordination, transparency of approvals, and expedited permitting. DOC is recommending that the Administration use existing authority to extend the use of streamlined permitting procedures in the FAST Act to any project that will result in a significant, immediate economic benefit to the United States.

ACA is eager to work with DOC on effecting its ideas for regulatory reform.

Contact ACA’s Heidi McAuliffe for more information.