The Department of the Interior (the Department) last week issued a Federal Register notice calling on the public to identify regulations for repeal, replacement, or modification. The Department’s action is part of President Trump’s regulatory reform agenda, as embodied in Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” which outlines the new administration’s goal of alleviating unnecessary regulatory burdens.
Unlike a similar Federal Register notice issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in April, the Department’s notice has no deadline by which comments must be submitted. But the old adage, “The early bird gets the worm,” seems particularly apt here, in light of the president’s ambitious regulatory goals and the brisk pace envisioned in and frequent reporting required by E.O. 13777.
The Department of the Interior protects and manages the nation's natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and implements the United States’ trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities. This work is carried out by nine technical bureaus, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the National Park Service, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as by various Interior offices such as the National Invasive Species Council and Strategic Sciences Group. The Department administers a broad range of federal statutes, including for example, the Endangered Species Act, under which it reviews the potential impacts of federal actions on threatened or endangered species and their habitats. The Department is the steward and manager of America's natural resources including oil, gas, coal, hydropower, and renewable energy sources on both onshore and offshore bases.
Given the Department of Interior’s wide reach, any stakeholder should consider taking this opportunity to consult with counsel and submit comments in order to influence the Department’s regulations.