DOINews: Simpler, Smarter, and More Cost-effective: Regulation Reforms at Interior

Last edited 09/05/2019

As part of President Obama's call for an innovative, balanced and cost-efficient federal regulatory culture in the 21st century, the Interior Department has launched several initiatives that can significantly reduce administrative expenses, protect the American people and promote economic growth and job creation.

On the energy front, we are reconsidering how we calculate royalties that companies owe the U.S. government for oil and gas produced from federal lands and offshore areas. The proposal would use geographically-based market prices as the presumed value of oil and gas. This change would reduce burdensome requirements under current regulations to undertake a complex transaction-by-transaction, fact-specific evaluation.

Ultimately, this change could dramatically improve compliance, better ensure proper royalty valuation by creating a more transparent calculation method, and save significant administrative costs for industry and government. Click here for more on this initiative.

Another strategic initiative addresses the challenges posed by the significant increase in federally listed endangered or threatened species, which now number 1,300 with an additional 249 species identified as candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). While the ESA has made a tremendous contribution to the conservation of imperiled species and prevented the probable extinction of hundreds of species across the nation, we recognize that there is much that can and should be done to make the ESA more effective.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA's Fisheries Service have initiated an effort to develop administrative changes to the ESA that will improve recovery of imperiled species, enhance our ability to achieve meaningful conservation on the ground and better engage the resources and expertise of our partners to meet the goals of the ESA.

Among the major goals are clarifying, expediting, and improving procedures for development and approval of conservation agreements with landowners, including habitat conservation plans, safe harbor agreements, and candidate conservation agreements.

We will focus our efforts on upholding the ultimate goal of the law – recovering species – and ensure that any proposed guidance, policies and regulations resulting from this effort stay true to the intent of the law as enacted by Congress. Before making any changes in regulations, policies and guidance, we will ensure the public and our partners have opportunities to review and comment. Click here for more information on this initiative.

All of the regulatory reform initiated under the President's mandate aim to remove outdated regulations that create unreasonable burdens on businesses, government agencies and the public, stifling job creation and making our economy less competitive. Together, these innovations can make our economy stronger and more competitive, while meeting our fundamental responsibilities for the health, welfare and safety of the American people.

For more information on President Obama's initiative, please visit:

Click here to see Interior's full Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Regulatory Review.


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