DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR REGULATORY PLAN
The U.S. Department of the Interior ("Interior" or "the Department") serves the American public by managing the Nation's natural resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, and it honors the United States' trust responsibilities or special commitments to Federally recognized tribes, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated insular areas. This includes managing approximately 500 million surface acres of Federal land or about twenty percent of the Nation's land area, approximately 700 million subsurface acres of Federal mineral estate, and over a billion acres of submerged lands on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Hundreds of millions of people visit Interior-managed lands each year in order to engage in camping, hiking, hunting, fishing and various other forms of outdoor recreation, which supports local communities and their economies. Interior provides access to Federal lands and offshore areas for the development of energy, minerals and other natural resources, which generates revenue for all levels of government, creates jobs and supports the Nation's energy and mineral security by promoting the identification and development of domestic sources of energy, minerals and the associated infrastructure needs. Interior manages these resources under a legal framework that includes regulations that ultimately affect the lives and livelihoods of many Americans.
America's lands and natural resources hold tremendous job-creating assets. As the steward for a substantial portion of this public trust, Interior manages the Nation's lands and natural resources for multiple uses. Through this balanced stewardship of public resources, which recognizes the value of both conservation and development, Interior helps drive job opportunities and economic growth. Interior supports $254 billion in estimated economic benefit, while direct grants and payments to states, tribes, and local communities provide an estimated $10 billion in economic benefit. In 2017, Interior collected approximately $9.6 billion from energy, mineral, grazing, and forestry activities on behalf of the American people. Interior also supports the economy by eliminating unnecessary and burdensome Federal regulatory requirements.
President Trump has made it a priority of his administration to reform regulatory requirements that negatively impact our economy while maintaining environmental standards. Since day one, Secretary Zinke has been committed to regulatory reform. Interior is playing a key role in regulatory reform and, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13777, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda" (signed Feb. 24, 2017), has established a Regulatory Reform Task Force to help make Interior's regulations work better for the American people. In accordance with E.O. 13777, as well as E.O. 13771, "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs" (signed Jan. 30, 2017), Interior will continue its efforts to identify and repeal, replace or modify regulations that are unnecessary, ineffective or that impose costs, which are not adequately justified by benefits. Interior will also continue to encourage and seek public input on these regulatory reform efforts. See 82 FR 28429 (June 22, 2017) and https://www.doi.gov/regulatory-reform.
In fiscal year 2019, Interior's regulatory agenda will continue to reflect a strong commitment to a conservation ethic that also recognizes that unnecessary regulations create harmful economic consequences on the U.S. economy. In doing this, the Department will continue to protect human health and the environment in a responsible and cost-effective manner, but in a way that avoids imposing undue process or unnecessary economic burdens on the American public.
Regulatory and Deregulatory Priorities
Interior's regulatory and deregulatory priorities focus on:
● Promoting American energy and critical mineral development
● Improving the effectiveness, transparency and timeliness of environmental review and permitting processes for infrastructure projects
● Expanding outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans
● Enhancing conservation stewardship
● Improving management of species and their habitats
● Upholding trust responsibilities to the Federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and addressing the challenges of economic development
Promoting American Energy and Critical Mineral Development
On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed E.O. 13783, "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth," which states that "[i]t is in the national interest to promote clean and safe development of our Nation's vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation." In accordance with E.O. 13783, Interior strives to promote the responsible development of Federal and Indian energy resources, while seeking to identify and eliminate regulatory requirements that unnecessarily burden the development or use of domestic sources of energy beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law. In addition to reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens, Interior is committed to improving its management of Federal and Indian energy resources by developing more efficient and streamlined permitting and review procedures.
The Department also recognizes that the public lands under its stewardship are an important source of the Nation's non-energy mineral resources, some of which are critical and strategic, and it is committed to ensuring appropriate access to public lands for the orderly and efficient development of important mineral resources. On December 20, 2017, President Trump signed E.O. 13817, "A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals," which prioritizes the need to reduce America's dependence on foreign sources for critical mineral supplies, which the U.S. relies upon to manufacture everything from batteries and computer chips to the equipment used by our military. Within this framework, on December 21, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed Secretary's Order (S.O.) No. 3351, "Critical Mineral Independence and Security," which directed Interior bureaus to identify a list of critical minerals and streamline permitting to encourage domestic production of those critical minerals.
In furtherance of these goals, Interior completed the following regulatory actions during fiscal year 2018:
In fiscal year 2019, Interior will continue to pursue a regulatory agenda that seeks to eliminate or minimize regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy and mineral development, and that promotes efficient, effective and timely processing of energy and mineral permits and other authorizations on Interior-administered lands and waters. Some of the regulatory actions that Interior is planning to prioritize in fiscal year 2019 include the following:
Improving the Efficiency, Transparency and Timeliness of Environmental Review and Permitting Processes for Infrastructure Projects
As outlined in E.O. 13807, "Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects" (signed Aug. 15, 2017), inefficiencies in permitting processes, including environmental review processes, can delay or prevent infrastructure investments, increase project costs, and prevent the American people from experiencing infrastructure improvements that would benefit our economy, society and environment. With this in mind, E.O. 13807 directs Federal agencies to undertake actions in order to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and accountability of their environmental review and permitting processes for infrastructure projects.
The Department is responsible for reviewing and approving permits and other authorizations for various public and private infrastructure projects on and across Interior-managed lands nationwide, including various forms of surface transportation, such as roadways and railroads, pipelines, transmission lines, water resource projects, and energy production and generation. As such, Interior has an important role in the overall objective of improving the Nation's infrastructure.
In recognition of the important role that it plays in the overall efforts to improve and strengthen the Nation's infrastructure, Interior has initiated actions in order to identify and address potential impediments to its efficient and effective review of infrastructure projects. For example, on August 31, 2017, Interior issued S.O. 3355, "Streamlining the National Environmental Policy Act Reviews and Implementation of Executive Order 13807, 'Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects,'" in order to enhance, modernize and improve the efficiencies of the Department's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review processes.
In order to ensure that the objectives of E.O. 13807 and S.O. 3355 are effectively implemented, the Department has issued numerous guidance documents, including Environmental Review Memorandum No. ERM 10-11, "Determining the Applicable Environmental Review Framework for Infrastructure Projects" (August 9, 2018), and the following memoranda from the Deputy Secretary of the Interior:
In addition, pursuant to S.O. 3358, "Executive Committee for Expedited Permitting" (signed Oct. 25, 2017), Interior established an Executive Committee for Expedited Permitting to help improve the Department's permitting processes for energy projects. This will involve improving the permitting processes for energy-related projects, as well as the harmonization of appurtenant environmental reviews.
In fiscal year 2019, Interior will pursue a regulatory agenda that continues its efforts to improve the Department's permitting processes, including interagency coordination and environmental review processes, for various types of infrastructure projects. Some of the regulatory actions planned for 2019 that will help to support those objectives include:
o "Conservation of Endangered and Threatened Species; Revision of Regulations to Address Interagency Cooperation";
o "Endangered and Threatened Species of Wildlife and Plants; Revision of the Regulations for Listing Species and Designating Critical Habitat";
o "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Regulations for Prohibitions to Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Blanket Section 4(d) Rule"; and
o "Endangered Species Act Section 10 Regulations; Exceptions Regarding the Conservation of Endangered and Threatened Species of Wildlife and Plants."
Increasing Outdoor Recreation for All Americans, Enhancing Conservation Stewardship, and Improving Management of Species and Their Habitat
On March 2, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed S.O. 3347, "Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation," which established a goal to enhance conservation stewardship, increase outdoor recreation, and improve the management of game species and their habitat.
With S.O. 3356, "Hunting, Fishing, Recreational Shooting, and Wildlife Conservation Opportunities and Coordination with States, Tribes, and Territories," which was signed on September 15, 2017, Interior announced continued efforts to enhance conservation stewardship; increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans, including opportunities to hunt and fish; and improve the management of game species and their habitats for this generation and beyond.
On April 18, 2018, Secretary Zinke signed S.O. 3365, "Establishment of a Senior National Adviser for Recreation," and S.O. 3366, "Increasing Recreational Opportunities on Lands and Waters Managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior." Those Secretary's Orders provide additional support for Interior's continuing efforts to increase access to outdoor recreation on public lands for all American.
In fiscal year 2019, Interior will pursue a regulatory agenda that will help to achieve its goals of expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing, for all Americans; enhancing conservation stewardship; and improving the management of species and their habitat. The regulatory actions that Interior is planning to pursue in accordance with the aforementioned goals include:
Upholding Trust Responsibilities to the Federally Recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and Addressing the Challenges of Economic Development
The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are committed to identifying opportunities to promote economic growth and the welfare of the people BIA serves by removing barriers to the development of energy and other resources in Indian country. In fiscal year 2019, Interior will continue to pursue a regulatory agenda that supports that commitment.
Aggregate Deregulatory and Significant Regulatory Actions
Interior made substantial progress in reducing regulatory burdens upon the American public. Since the issuance of E.O. 13771 in January 2017, Interior has finalized deregulatory actions that provide a total of over $200 million in annualized costs savings. In fiscal year 2019, Interior expects to complete deregulatory actions that will provide approximately $50 million in annualized costs savings. Interior does not currently expect to publish any significant regulatory actions during the next year that will be subject to the offset requirements of E.O. 13771. Throughout this document, the terms "deregulatory action" and "significant regulatory action" refer to actions that are subject to E.O. 13771.
Bureaus and Offices within the Department of the Interior
The following sections give an overview of some of the major deregulatory and regulatory priorities of Interior bureaus and offices.
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) enhances the quality of life, promotes economic opportunity, and protects and improves the trust assets of approximately 1.9 million American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. BIA also provides quality education opportunities to students in Indian schools. BIA maintains a government-to-government relationship with the 573 federally recognized Indian tribes. The Bureau also administers and manages 55 million acres of surface land and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals held in trust by the United States for American Indians and Indian tribes.
Deregulatory and Regulatory Actions
In the coming year, BIA's regulatory agenda will continue to focus on priorities that ease regulatory burdens on tribes, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and others subject to BIA regulations, in accordance with E.O. 13771, "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs," and E.O. 13777, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda." In accordance with this focus, BIA has identified a provision in the Tribal Transportation Program regulation that may be appropriate for revision because it imposes data collection and reporting requirements that are potentially unnecessary under current law. BIA also plans to finalize a regulation that would streamline the right-of-way process for governmental entities seeking a waiver of the requirement to obtain a bond in certain cases. To reduce documentary burden, BIA is planning to finalize a rule that would allow for the recording in land title records of a memorandum of lease, rather than requiring recording of all the lease documents.
Because many of its existing regulations require compliance with the NEPA, BIA is also working on parallel efforts to streamline NEPA implementation, in accordance with E.O. 13807, "Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects," and S.O. 3355, "Streamlining National Environmental Policy Act Reviews and Implementation of Executive Order 13807."
The BIA has one potentially significant regulatory action on its agenda that would revise the existing regulations governing off-reservation trust acquisitions to establish new items that must be included in an application and threshold criteria that must be met for off-reservation acquisitions before NEPA compliance will be required. The rule would also reinstate the 30-day delay for taking land into trust following a decision by the Secretary or Assistant Secretary. This rule is expected to have de minimis economic impacts and therefore likely exempt from the offset requirements under E.O. 13771.
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages more than 245 million acres of public land, known as the National System of Public Lands, primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. As stewards, the BLM pursues its multiple-use mission, providing opportunities for economic growth through uses such as energy development, ranching, mining and logging, as well as outdoor recreation activities such as camping, hunting and fishing, while also supporting conservation efforts. Public lands provide valuable, tangible goods and materials that we use every day to heat our homes, build our roads, and feed our families. The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities it serves, and is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive.
Deregulatory and Regulatory actions
BLM has identified the following deregulatory actions for the coming year:
BLM has no significant regulatory actions subject to E.O. 13771 planned in 2019.
Non-Energy Solid Leasable Minerals Royalty Rate Reductions
The BLM is considering a proposed rule to streamline the royalty rate reduction process for non-energy solid leasable minerals. The proposed rule would address shortcomings with the existing royalty rate reduction regulations for non-energy solid leasable minerals at 43 CFR subpart 3513 - Waiver, Suspension or Reduction of Rental and Minimum Royalties.
The current regulations establish the royalty rate reduction process. However, that process is believed to be unnecessarily burdensome and the standards are higher than the applicable statute requires for approval of a royalty rate reduction. The proposed rule would streamline the royalty rate reduction process and align the BLM regulations more closely with the standards of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
Revisions to Oil and Gas Site Security, Oil Measurement, and Gas Measurement Regulations
On November 17, 2016, the BLM issued three final rules that updated and replaced the BLM's existing Onshore Oil and Gas Orders (Onshore Orders) for site security (Onshore Order 3), measurement of oil (Onshore Order 4), and measurement of gas (Onshore Order 5). The three rules were codified in Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations at subparts 3170 (Onshore Oil and Gas Production: General), 3173 (Requirements for Site Security and Production Handling), 3174 (Measurement of Oil), and 3175 (Measurement of Gas). These rules were prompted by external and internal oversight reviews, which found that many of the BLM's production measurement and accountability policies were outdated and inconsistently applied. The rules addressed some of the Government Accountability Office's concerns for areas of high risk with regard to the Department's production accountability. The rulemakings also provide a process for approving new measurement technology that meets defined performance goals.
In accordance with E.O. 13783, "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth" (March 28, 2017), and S.O. 3349, "American Energy Independence" (March 29, 2017), the BLM has undertaken a review of the rules to determine if certain provisions may have added regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation. As a result of this review, the BLM is considering a proposed rulemaking action that will propose to modify certain provisions of 43 CFR subparts 3170, 3173, 3174, and 3175 in order to reduce unnecessary and overly burdensome regulatory requirements.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is committed to the Administration proposition that "A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health." In accordance with E.O. 13783, "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth," BOEM is committed to the safe and orderly development of our offshore energy and mineral resources, with the goal of avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation. BOEM is committed to identifying regulatory and deregulatory opportunities and policies that lower costs and stimulate development. BOEM continues to strengthen U.S. energy security and energy independence. BOEM creates jobs, benefits local communities, and strengthens the economy by offering opportunities to develop the conventional and renewable energy and mineral resources of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
Deregulatory and Regulatory Actions
E.O. 13795, "Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy," specifically addressed certain Interior rules related to offshore energy. To implement E.O.13795, Interior issued S.O. 3350, "America-First Offshore Energy Strategy," which enhances opportunities for energy exploration, leasing, and development on the OCS; establishes regulatory certainty for OCS activities; and enhances conservation stewardship, thereby providing jobs, energy security, and revenue for the American people. In accordance with S.O. 3350, BOEM has:
BOEM has no economically significant regulatory actions planned for fiscal year 2019.
Streamlining Renewable Energy Regulations
BOEM's renewable energy program has matured over the past 8 years as it has conducted 7 auctions and issued 13 commercial leases for offshore wind. Through that experience and stakeholder engagement, BOEM has identified deregulatory opportunities for reforming, streamlining, and clarifying its renewable energy regulations. This proposed rulemaking contains reforms that are intended to facilitate offshore renewable energy development, while not decreasing environmental safeguards. The rulemaking advances, and is consistent with, the Administration's deregulatory and energy security policies.
Compliance with Executive and Secretary's Orders, and Statutory Mandates
BOEM will continue to be responsive to the various regulatory reform initiatives, including identifying and acting upon any regulations, orders, guidance, policies or any similar actions that could potentially burden the development or utilization of domestically produced energy sources.
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement's (BSEE) mission is to promote offshore conservation, development and production of offshore energy resources while ensuring that offshore operations are safe and environmentally responsible. BSEE's priorities in fulfillment of its mission are to: (1) promote and regulate offshore energy development using the full range of authorities, policies, and tools to ensure safety and environmental responsibility; and (2) build and sustain the organizational, technical, and intellectual capacity within and across BSEE's key functions in order to keep pace with offshore industry technology improvements, innovate in economically sound regulation and enforcement, and reduce risk through appropriate risk assessment and regulatory and enforcement actions.
Consistent with the direction in E.O. 13783, "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth," E.O. 13795, "Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy," as well as E.O. 13771, "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs," BSEE has reviewed and will continue to review its existing regulations to determine whether they may unnecessarily burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, constrain economic growth, or prevent job creation. BSEE is a well-positioned partner ready to help all stakeholders maintain the Nation's position as a global energy leader and foster energy independence for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring that offshore oil and gas activity in the Outer Continental Shelf is performed in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
In the coming year, BSEE plans to finalize two deregulatory actions and three regulatory actions. BSEE has no significant regulatory actions that are expected to be subject to E.O. 13771 planned for the coming year.
BSEE has identified the following deregulatory actions under E.O. 13771 as high priorities for fiscal year 2019:
Well Control and Blowout Prevention Systems Rule Revision
In the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010, 14 external organizations made a total of 424 recommendations, which were expressed through 26 separate reports, in order to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas operations. BSEE subsequently issued four rules that addressed those recommendations, which included the April 2016 final rule entitled, "Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control" (81 FR 25888) ("2016 Well Control Rule" or "2016 rule"). The 2016 Well Control Rule consolidated the equipment and operational requirements for well control into one part of BSEE's regulations; enhanced blowout preventer (BOP), well design, and modified well-control requirements; and incorporated certain industry technical standards.
Consistent with the policy direction of E.O.s 13771 and 13795 and S.O. 3350, BSEE undertook a review of the 2016 Well Control Rule with a view toward encouraging energy exploration and production and reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens while ensuring that any such activity is safe and environmentally responsible. After thoroughly reexamining the 2016 Well Control Rule, on May 11, 2018, BSEE published a proposed rule entitled, "Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Revisions" (83 FR 22128) ("proposed rule"), to reduce regulatory burdens and encourage job-creating development, while still ensuring safe and environmentally responsible offshore oil and gas operations.
In developing the proposed rule, BSEE carefully analyzed all 342 provisions of the 2016 Well Control Rule, and identified 59 of those provisions-or less than 18% of the 2016 Rule- as appropriate for revision or deletion. During this process, BSEE also compared each of the proposed changes to the 424 recommendations arising from the 26 separate reports developed in the wake of and in response to the Deepwater Horizon incident, and determined that none of the proposed changes contradicts or ignores any of those recommendations, or would alter any provision of the 2016 Well Control Rule in a way that would make the result inconsistent with any of the recommendations. Among the potential changes included in the proposed rule are:
Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf Rule
BSEE has reviewed, in consultation with BOEM, the final rule "Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf-Requirements for Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf," published on July 15, 2016 (81 FR 46478), for consistency with the policy set forth in section 2 of E.O. 13795. As a result of that review, BSEE and BOEM are considering deregulatory options for the rule.
In addition to the deregulatory actions previously identified, BSEE will continue to review the remainder of its regulations to identify other requirements that could be modified to increase efficiency, streamline processes, reduce industry burden, and maximize energy resources while ensuring offshore operations are performed in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.
BSEE has no significant regulatory actions subject to E.O. 13771 planned for fiscal year 2019. However, BSEE plans to complete the following three, non-significant rulemakings before the end of that fiscal year that are either statutorily required or are minor in nature:
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act; 2019 Inflation Adjustments for Civil Penalties
This rulemaking would adjust the level of civil monetary penalties contained in BSEE's regulations that are pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (FCPIA) requires Federal agencies to make annual adjustments for inflation to civil penalties contained in its regulations.
Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act; 2019 Inflation Adjustments for Civil Penalties
To provide for a more cohesive and streamlined approach for making annual inflation adjustments to BSEE's FOGRMA-related civil penalties under the FCPIA, this rulemaking would remove the civil monetary amounts contained in BSEE's regulations and replace them with a cross-reference to the Office of Natural Resource Revenue's (ONRR) FOGRMA civil penalty regulations. Pursuant to the FCPIA, ONRR makes inflation adjustments to its FOGRMA civil penalties on an annual basis pursuant to the FCPIA.
Privacy Act Regulations; Exemption for the Investigations Case Management System
Interior will amend its regulations to exempt certain records from particular provisions of the Privacy Act, which BSEE maintains to conduct and document incident investigations related to operations on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
Office of Natural Resources Revenue
The Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) will continue to collect, account for, and disburse revenues from Federal offshore energy and mineral leases and from onshore mineral leases on Federal and Indian lands. The program operates nationwide and is primarily responsible for timely and accurate collection, distribution, and accounting for revenues associated with mineral and energy production. ONRR's regulatory plan for October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019 is as follows:
By January 15, 2019, ONRR will draft and publish in the Federal Register a final rule (1012-AA24) to adjust for inflation ONRR's daily maximum civil penalty rates, to be effective for calendar year 2019. This adjustment is required by law (28 U.S.C. - 2461) and OMB Guidance.
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) was created by the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). Under SMCRA, OSMRE has two principal functions - the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations, and the reclamation and restoration of abandoned coal mine lands. In enacting SMCRA, Congress directed OSMRE to "strike a balance between protection of the environment and agricultural productivity and the Nation's need for coal as an essential source of energy." OSMRE seeks to develop and maintain a regulatory program that provides a safe, cost-effective, and environmentally sound supply of coal to help support the Nation's economy and local communities.
Deregulatory and Regulatory Actions
OSMRE is continuing to review additional actions to reduce burdens on energy production, including, for example, reviewing the state program amendment process to reduce the time it takes to formally amend an approved regulatory program.
OSMRE has no significant regulatory actions planned for fiscal year 2019.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The FWS also provides opportunities for Americans to enjoy the outdoors and our shared natural heritage.
The FWS fulfills its responsibilities through a diverse array of programs that:
● Protect and recover endangered and threatened species;
● Monitor and manage migratory birds;
● Enforce Federal wildlife laws and regulate international trade;
● Conserve and restore wildlife habitat such as wetlands;
● Help foreign governments conserve wildlife through international conservation efforts;
● Distribute Federal funds to States, territories, and tribes for fish and wildlife conservation projects; and
● Manage the more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the remote Pacific in the National Wildlife Refuge System, which protects and conserves fish and wildlife and their habitats, and allows the public to engage in outdoor recreational activities.
Deregulatory and Regulatory Actions
During the next year, the regulatory priorities of FWS will include:
Regulations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
The FWS, jointly with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), will propose regulatory actions to improve the administration of the ESA, and reduce unnecessary administrative burdens. The FWS and NMFS are developing regulatory reforms that will create efficiencies and streamline the ESA consultation process, as well as the processes for listing and delisting threatened and endangered species. In addition, FWS is developing a regulatory action that would remove the blanket section 4(d) rule applying to species listed as threatened. This change will align FWS's process with NMFS and result in regulations and prohibitions tailored to the conservation needs of specific species.
The FWS is also considering a rulemaking action that would improve and clarify its regulations that implement section 10 of the ESA and pertain to the issuance of permits for the take of threatened and endangered species.
The FWS also plans to take multiple regulatory actions under the ESA in order to prevent the extinction and facilitate the recovery of both domestic and foreign animal and plant species. Accordingly, FWS will add species to, remove species from, and reclassify species on the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, and designate critical habitat, in accordance with the National Listing Workplan and 3-Year Downlisting and Delisting Workplan. These Workplans enable FWS to prioritize its workload based on the needs of species, while providing greater clarity and predictability about the timing of ESA classification determinations to State wildlife agencies, nonprofit organizations, and various other diverse stakeholders and partners. The goals of the Workplans are to encourage proactive conservation so that Federal protections are not needed in the first place and to remove regulatory burdens once a listed species' status is improved or the species is recovered.
Regulations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)
In carrying out its responsibility to manage migratory bird populations, FWS plans to issue annual migratory bird hunting regulations, which establish the frameworks (outside limits) for States to establish season lengths, bag limits, and areas for migratory game bird hunting. FWS is considering and plans to propose a regulatory action to revise and improve the administration of the MBTA.
Regulations to administer the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS)
In carrying out its statutory responsibility to provide wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities on NWRS lands, FWS issues an annual rule to update the hunting and fishing regulations on specific refuges.
Regulations to carry out the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Acts (Acts)
Under the Acts, FWS distributes annual apportionments to States from trust funds derived from excise tax revenues and fuel taxes. FWS continues to work closely with State fish and wildlife agencies on how to use these funds to implement conservation projects. To strengthen its partnership with State conservation organizations, FWS is working on several rules to update and clarify its regulations. Planned regulatory revisions will help to reflect several new decisions agreed upon by State conservation organizations.
Regulations to carry out the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Lacey Act
In accordance with section 3(a) of E.O. 13609, "Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation," FWS will update its CITES regulations to incorporate provisions resulting from the 16th and 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES. The revisions will help FWS more effectively promote species conservation and help U.S. importers and exporters of wildlife products understand how to conduct lawful international trade.
The FWS has no significant regulatory actions that are subject to E.O. 13771 planned for fiscal year 2019.
National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) preserves the natural and cultural resources and values within 417 units of the National Park System encompassing nearly 84 million acres of lands and waters for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The NPS also cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout the United States and the world.
The NPS intends to issue a number of deregulatory actions and no significant regulatory actions during the upcoming year.
The NPS will undertake deregulatory actions under E.O. 13771, "Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs," that will reduce regulatory costs. Several of these actions also comply with section 6 of E.O. 13563, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review," because they will remove or modify outdated, unnecessarily complicated and burdensome regulations.
The NPS intends to:
● Issue a final rule to align sport hunting regulations in national preserves in Alaska with State of Alaska regulations and to enhance consistency with harvest regulations on surrounding non-federal lands and waters.
● Issue a proposed rule that would revise existing regulations implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) to streamline requirements for museums and Federal agencies. The rule would describe the NAGPRA process in accessible language with clear time parameters, eliminate ambiguity, clarify terms, and improve efficiency.
NPS Response to Secretarial Order 3366: Increasing Recreational Opportunities on Lands and Waters Managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior
Enabling regulations are considered deregulatory under guidance to E.O. 13771. The NPS will undertake several enabling regulatory actions in the coming year that will provide new opportunities for the public to enjoy and experience certain areas within the National Park System. These include regulations authorizing:
● Off-road vehicle use at Cape Lookout National Seashore (final rule), Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (final rule), Big Cypress National Preserve (proposed rule), and Fire Island National Seashore (proposed rule);
● Bicycling at Pea Ridge National Military Park (final rule), Hot Springs National Park (proposed rule), Buffalo National River (proposed rule), and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (proposed rule);
● Launching of non-motorized vessels from Colonial National Historic Park (proposed rule);
● Snowmobiles within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (proposed rule);
● Personal watercraft within Gulf Islands National Seashore (proposed rule); and
● Recreational flying within Death Valley National Park (proposed rule).
These actions will allow the public to use NPS-administered lands and waters in a manner that protects the resources and values of the National Park System. As outdoor recreation technology, uses, and patterns evolve, the NPS regulations and management policies will also need to evolve. The NPS is working to address emerging forms of recreation such as electric bicycles (e-bikes).
Other Priority Rulemakings of Particular Interest to Small Business
The NPS intends to issue a proposed rule to implement the Visitor Experience Improvements Authority (VEIA) given to the NPS by Congress in Title VII of the National Park Service Centennial Act. This authority allows the NPS to award and administer commercial services contracts (and related professional services contracts) for the operation and expansion of commercial visitor facilities and visitor services programs in units of the National Park System.
Bureau of Reclamation
The Bureau of Reclamation's mission is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. To accomplish this mission, we employ management, engineering, and science to achieve effective and environmentally sensitive solutions. Reclamation projects provide: Irrigation water service, municipal and industrial water supply, hydroelectric power generation, water quality improvement, groundwater management, fish and wildlife enhancement, outdoor recreation, flood control, navigation, river regulation and control, system optimization, and related uses. In addition, we continue to provide increased security at our facilities.
Deregulatory and Regulatory Actions
The Bureau of Reclamation intends to publish no deregulatory or significant regulatory actions in fiscal year 2019.
Other Regulatory Actions of the Department of the Interior
Natural Resource Damages and Restoration--Hazardous Substances (RIN: 1090-AB17)
The existing regulation (43 CFR 11) provides procedures that Natural Resource Trustees may use to evaluate the need for and means of restoring, replacing, or acquiring the equivalent of public natural resources that are injured or destroyed as a result of releases of hazardous substances. The Department is considering a potential rulemaking action that would provide an opportunity for others (Federal agencies, States, Indian Tribes, and interested public) to provide input on areas of the existing regulations that could be revised to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and restoration of the injured resources.
Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (RIN: 1090-AB18)
The Department is developing regulations to streamline its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process by increasing the number of categorical exclusions and updating its NEPA regulations.
 A provision represents a requirement of the operator that may be comprised of a single citation or multiple citations.