The NCSL Blog


By Ben Husch and Kristen Hildreth

Earlier this month, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) released the Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.

Photo by Pok Rie from PexelsMore commonly known as the “Unified Agenda,” the report is a semiannual update on the administration’s past, present and anticipated regulatory actions across the federal government.

The Unified Agenda keeps in line with the president’s executive order (EO) 13771 from Jan. 30, 2017, which directed that for every new significant federal regulation implemented, two must be rescinded, and for agencies to offset any new regulatory costs.

Under EO 12866, significant regulatory actions are most commonly defined as those that have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect, in a material way, the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or state, local, or tribal governments or communities.

Per the Unified Agenda, in fiscal year (FY) 2018, agencies achieved $23 billion in net regulatory cost savings, issued 176 deregulatory actions—57 of which were significant deregulatory actions—and issued 14 significant regulatory actions. The administration estimates it has reduced regulatory costs by $33 billion since it came into office.

Here is a breakdown of anticipated actions within the transportation sector broken down by the governing federal agency. The next Unified Agenda is anticipated to be released mid-2019. For more information on the administration’s current actions please contact Kristen Hildreth or Ben Husch, and see the resources available below. 

Department of the Interior (DOI)

In FY 2019, the DOI expects to complete deregulatory actions that provide $50 million in annualized cost savings, and does not, at this time, expect to promulgate any significant regulatory actions that would be subject to the requirements of EO 13771.

The DOI indicates that it will pursue an agenda in line with EO 13807, Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects, which directs federal agencies to undertake actions to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, and accountability of their environmental review and permitting processes for infrastructure projects.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The DOT indicates that even with the cost of significant regulatory actions, the department’s deregulatory actions in FY 2018 will result in over $500 million in net cost savings. It is currently pursuing over 120 deregulatory rulemakings.

The report lists several actions the administration is planning on taking within the next year surrounding drones. Within the next month, the Federal Aviation Administration is anticipated to release a proposed rule on drone flights over people, and request comments on drone safety and security. Additionally, the agency plans to finalize a rule on drone registration and issue a final rule on drone marking requirements by the close of 2018. In 2019, the agency plans to propose rules on remote identification and develop an application process to place limitations on drone flights near “critical infrastructure.”

In addition to drones, the department has several rulemakings pending, which reflect its commitment to “safety, innovation, infrastructure, and reducing burdens.”

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA will also continue to work with the DOT to finalize its regulations on fuel efficiency for light vehicles model years 2021-2026 (The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2126 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks) by spring of 2020. For more information on the proposed rule, please read NCSL’s Info Alert.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.