Availability of Final Report on Regulatory Review Under Executive Order 13783, 50491-50493 [2017-23713]

Download as PDF 50491 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 210 Wednesday, November 1, 2017 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ‘‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth’’. The report provides the recommendations of DOE’s Regulatory Reform Task Force to reduce regulatory burdens on domestic energy resources, and is published as an appendix to this document and available at https://www.energy.gov/ downloads/final-report-regulatoryreview-under-executive-order-13783. Issued in Washington, DC, on October 26, 2017. Shena A. Kennerly, Acting Director, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Department of Energy. 2 CFR Chapter IX 5 CFR Chapter XXIII 10 CFR Chapters II, III and X Appendix 41 CFR Chapter 109 Department of Energy 48 CFR Chapter 9 Availability of Final Report on Regulatory Review Under Executive Order 13783 Office of the Secretary, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notification of final report on regulatory review. AGENCY: Through this document, the Department of Energy (DOE) announces the availability of its report issued under Executive Order 13783, ‘‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth’’. DATES: The Secretary signed the final report on October 24, 2017. ADDRESSES: Copies of the report are available for public inspection at the U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. Public inspection can be conducted between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. This report is being published in its entirety and can also be accessed online at https://www.energy.gov/downloads/ final-report-regulatory-review-underexecutive-order-13783. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Cohen, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. Telephone: (202) 586–5000. Email: Regulatory.Review@hq.doe.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Energy (DOE) announces the availability of its report issued under Executive Order 13783, sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:12 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 Final Report on Regulatory Review Under Executive Order 13783 On March 28, 2017, the President signed Executive Order (EO) 13783, entitled ‘‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.’’ Among other things, EO 13783 requires the heads of agencies to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions (collectively, ‘‘agency actions’’) that potentially burden 1 the development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy resources. Such review does not include agency actions that are mandated by law, necessary for the public interest, and consistent with the policy set forth elsewhere in that order. On May 18, 2017, I submitted to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) the Department of Energy’s (DOE) plan to review its agency actions under EO 13783. The plan was also sent to the Vice President, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). In the plan, I stated that DOE’s Regulatory Reform Task Force (Task Force) would conduct the review of agency actions subject to review under EO 13783. On May 30, 2017, DOE published in the Federal Register a Request for Information (RFI), seeking input and other assistance from entities significantly affected by regulations of the DOE, including State, local, and tribal governments, small businesses, consumers, non-governmental organizations, and manufacturers and their trade associations.2 1 Executive Order 13783 defined burden for purposes of the review of existing regulations to mean to unnecessarily obstruct, delay, curtail, or otherwise impose significant costs on the siting, permitting, production, utilization, transmission, or delivery of energy resources. 2 82 FR 24582 (May 30, 2017). PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DOE’s goal in publishing the RFI was to ‘‘create a systematic method for identifying those existing DOE rules that are obsolete, unnecessary, unjustified, or simply no longer make sense.’’ DOE decided to solicit views on: (a) How DOE could best conduct its analysis of existing agency actions, and (b) insights on specific rules or Departmentimposed obligations that should be altered or eliminated. The comment period on the RFI closed on July 14, 2017. DOE received 132 separate public comments from decision-makers, stakeholders, and the public on rules promulgated by DOE and the burdens some of those rules have imposed. The Task Force has evaluated these comments to achieve meaningful regulatory reform in a manner consistent with our commitment to public participation in the rulemaking process. DOE sought views on the specific rules or Department-imposed obligations that should be altered or eliminated, because knowledge about the full effects of a rule is widely dispersed in society, and members of the public are likely to have useful information and perspectives on the benefits and burdens of existing requirements and how regulatory obligations may be updated, streamlined, revised, or repealed to better achieve regulatory objectives, while minimizing regulatory burdens, consistent with applicable law. Interested parties may also be well-positioned to identify those rules that are most in need of reform, and, thus, assist the Department in prioritizing and properly tailoring its review process. Beyond the RFI, the Task Force reviewed DOE Directives, Orders, Manuals, and Policies designed to ensure the effective management and operation of the National Laboratories, which contribute to American economic growth and energy security. Also, with the help of the Office of Management and staff for the Under Secretary of Energy, we reviewed DOE’s Directives, Orders, Manuals, and Policies specifically for burdens on domestic energy production. In addition to the work conducted to comply with EO 13783, DOE will continue to review all agency actions to assure that DOE does not burden domestic energy production. For example, as discussed below, we will review agency actions concerning fossil fuel consumption in Federal buildings, impact of building codes, and nuclear export licensing. DOE is committed to reducing regulatory burdens on the American people to unleash domestic energy production and promote job creation and economic growth. Recommendations To Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Domestic Energy Resources Based on a review of the comments received in response to the RFI, coupled with the work of the Task Force to identify both internal and external agency actions that inhibit domestic energy development and use, DOE’s Task Force offers the following recommendations: E:\FR\FM\01NOR1.SGM 01NOR1 50492 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations (1) Streamline Natural Gas Exports; (2) Review National Laboratory Policies; (3) Review National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Regulations; and (4) Review the DOE Appliance Standards Program. DOE Task Force Recommendations (1) Streamline Natural Gas Exports Several commenters encouraged DOE to expedite exports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). On September 1, 2017, DOE announced a proposed rule to provide faster approval of small-scale natural gas exports, including LNG. This measure will expedite the review and approval of applications to export small amounts of natural gas in the emerging smallscale LNG export market. Under the Natural Gas Act, DOE has jurisdiction over imports and exports of natural gas. For applications to export natural gas to countries without a qualifying free trade agreement (non-free trade agreement countries), DOE must conduct a public interest review before authorizing an export. This proposed rule provides that DOE, upon receipt of any complete application to export natural gas (including LNG) to non-free trade agreement countries, will grant the application if the application meets two criteria: The application proposes to export no more than 0.14 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), and the proposed export qualifies for a categorical exclusion under DOE’s NEPA regulations. For applications meeting these criteria, the exports are considered ‘‘small-scale natural gas exports’’ and are deemed in the public interest under the Natural Gas Act. Exports of natural gas to free trade agreement countries are already deemed in the public interest under the Act. The Task Force will also consider whether future rulemakings can allow for expedited processing of larger-scale exports of natural gas as consistent with applicable law and DOE’s statutory authority. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES (2) Review National Laboratory Policies DOE manages several National Laboratories that support the Department’s energy, science, and nuclear non-proliferation missions. As part of our review, the Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of operations and procedures at the National Labs. The National Labs conduct research and development of innovative technologies that have the potential to enable future energy production. The Task Force identified several areas for reform that would permit the National Laboratories to operate more efficiently, focusing more time and resources on their mission-critical work: Conducting early-stage research and development of innovative energy technologies that advance American economic growth and energy security. (3) Review DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Regulations and Implementation DOE received comments on the RFI concerning streamlining and simplifying the agency’s external regulations (10 CFR 1021) and internal operations to improve effectiveness and efficiency of NEPA VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:12 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 document approval processes. The Task Force is comprehensively reviewing NEPA and offers several specific recommendations to reform DOE’s NEPA processes to optimize and ensure compliance with existing statutes, CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1500–1508), and EO. Specific NEPA recommendations include: • Reform the NEPA process for permitting and export applications, including LNG and infrastructure. • Review existing NEPA policies to assess whether DOE should grant more categorical exclusions. Further, enable DOE’s adoption of categorical exclusions already approved by other Federal agencies, and foster interagency collaboration, such as working with the Bureau of Land Management to consider categorical exclusions for geothermal energy on Federal lands. • Remove language in DOE Regulations (10 CFR 1021) that is not consistent with overarching CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1500– 1508). (4) Review DOE Appliance Standards Program Pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), DOE implements minimum energy conservation standards and separate test procedures for more than 60 categories of appliances. DOE’s energy conservation standards apply to this EO because they impact U.S. energy consumption, the vast majority of which comes from oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear resources. Below is a summary of the various public comments and proposals that DOE has received and is considering: • Review the Process Rule. Many commenters have asked DOE to follow and review the 1996 Process Rule (10 CFR Appendix A to Subpart C). The Process Rule describes the procedures, interpretations, and policies that guide DOE in establishing new or revised energy-efficiency standards for consumer products. Given our commitment to transparency and regulatory certainty, DOE will consider issuing a RFI to gather additional feedback from stakeholders on how to amend or improve the Process Rule. • Reduce the Burden of Serial Rulemaking. Many stakeholders, including manufacturers and small businesses, regard as overly burdensome and unnecessary the statutory requirement to reconsider standards at least once every six years. Æ Commenters offered similar feedback in response to the Department of Commerce’s RFI pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum on Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing. Æ Commenters of both DOE’s and Commerce’s RFI suggest extending the time period between consideration of standards to give regulated industries more time to comply. This would require statutory changes, which are outside the scope of EO 13783. However, DOE will consider other agency actions to reduce regulatory burdens on American families and businesses. As stated below, such reforms would give DOE more time to determine, before considering PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 amending standards for a product, whether costs were accurately estimated and expected energy savings were realized. The current 6-year review process may not provide adequate time for such a retrospective analysis, which is critical to determine whether energy conservation standards are working as intended and the underlying assumptions are sound. Æ In lieu of statutory changes to the 6-year review period, DOE should consider ‘‘no amended standards’’ determinations when supported by data and when small energy savings require significant upfront cost to achieve. Æ Consider voluntary, non-regulatory, and market-based alternatives to standardssetting. For example, when appropriate and consistent with the law, consider using established industry test procedures as the DOE test procedures. Æ Consider establishing a baseline for energy savings that qualify as not significant and thus not economically justified. Æ Refrain from enacting standards through a direct final rule because of the economic burden it may impose on households and the lack of consumer voice in the rulemaking process. • Improve Cost-Benefit Analysis. EPCA requires DOE to promulgate rules that are economically justified, but this definition is subject to interpretation. Setting clear definitions that evaluate the comprehensive range of costs and benefits is crucial to ensure that DOE’s conservation standards save energy while minimizing economic burdens. Some topics for consideration include: Æ Establish internal DOE standards for how to regulate when large portions of the public would bear net costs (costs exceed benefits). Adopting a standard for determining a level at which the net cost is too large would preserve resources and mitigate burdens on consumers. Æ Conduct a retrospective review of previous standards to assess the validity of DOE’s analysis before it is used in new rules. This would give DOE enough time to collect information on consumer preferences and behavior, including surveys of consumers. • Reconsider standards and test procedures for particular products. Commenters identified numerous standards and test procedures for reconsideration, citing excessive regulatory burdens. DOE is evaluating these comments, examples of which include: Æ Review standards for natural gas products to consider whether the standards are inconsistent with the intent of EO 13783 to minimize regulatory burdens on domestic energy resources. Æ Reconsider, or refrain from establishing, certain standards, including commercial packaged boilers, commercial and industrial fans and blowers, the refrigerated beverage vending machine standards rule published in 2016; the commercial refrigeration equipment standards rule published in 2014; the residential furnace fan rule published in 2014; and the residential water heaters standards published in 2010. Other commenters recommend maintaining many of these standards. E:\FR\FM\01NOR1.SGM 01NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Æ Repeal or reconsider several test procedures, including for compressors, residential central air conditioners and heat pumps, and consumer and commercial water heaters. Other commenters recommend maintaining current test procedures. • Follow the requirements of EO 13783 when analyzing climate impacts. EO 13783 withdraws certain documents concerning the development of the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) and requires agencies to follow the requirements of OMB Circular A–4 in climate analyses. DOE will follow these requirements in our regulations. Also, some commenters encouraged DOE not to use SCC to calculate the climate impacts of regulations. In addition to the recommendations listed above, DOE is committed to enhancing engagement with stakeholders in an open and transparent process. Building on the listening session held on October 2, 2017, DOE is preparing to send a letter to each of the Department’s Federal Advisory Committees requesting them to include regulatory reform on the agenda for their next meeting. DOE will also consider holding additional listening sessions on a semiregular basis to gather feedback and hold the Department accountable to the public. Furthermore, DOE will continue to consider other areas where it may be possible to relieve burdens on domestic energy production. For example, DOE will consider, consistent with Federal law, possible flexibility for regulations relating to fossil fuel consumption in Federal buildings, buildings codes, nuclear export licensing, and DOE’s proposed nuclear damage contingent cost allocation rule. In short, we will remain committed to reducing burdens on all kinds of domestic energy production. Section 2(d) of EO 13783 These recommendations comprise DOE’s final report, which will be submitted to the Vice President, the OMB Director, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, as required by section 2(d) of EO 13783. If implemented, these recommendations would alleviate or eliminate aspects of agency actions that burden domestic energy development, production, and use. October 24, 2017 Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy [FR Doc. 2017–23713 Filed 10–31–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION 5 CFR Part 5601 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES [Docket No. RM2017–4; Order No. 4177] Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct Postal Regulatory Commission. Final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: The Commission is issuing a set of rules that amend existing rules SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:12 Oct 31, 2017 Jkt 244001 related to supplemental standards of ethical conduct for Postal Regulatory Commission employees. The rules revise the existing rules in order to better conform to Office of Government Ethics standards and accurately reflect the Commission’s regulatory role under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. DATES: Effective December 1, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at 202–789–6820. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Background III. Comments IV. Commission Analysis V. Ordering Paragraphs I. Introduction On May 24, 2017, the Postal Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise its supplemental standards of ethical conduct, 5 CFR part 5601.1 On the same day, the Commission also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise the ethics rules applicable to Commission employees, 39 CFR subpart A of part 3000.2 Executive branch employees are subject to multiple federal ethics laws, regulations issued by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), and executive orders. The supplemental standards of ethical conduct at issue in this Order are additional restrictions applicable only to Commission employees. These supplemental standards of ethical conduct concern prohibited financial interests, prohibited outside employment, disqualification when seeking nonfederal employment, and prior approval to engage in outside employment. For the reasons discussed below, the Commission adopts the proposed rules without alteration. OGE concurs with the Commission’s proposed revisions to 5 CFR part 5601. II. Background In 1991, Executive Order 12674, as amended by Executive Order 12731, authorized OGE to establish a single, comprehensive, and clear set of 1 82 FR 23758 (May 24, 2017). The Commission posted this document on its Web site on May 19, 2017. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Amendments to Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Postal Regulatory Commission, May 19, 2017 (Order No. 3906). 2 82 FR 23766 (May 24, 2017). The Commission posted this document on its Web site on May 19, 2017. Order No. 3907, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Amendments to Ethics Rules, May 19, 2017. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50493 executive branch standards of ethical conduct.3 On August 7, 1992, OGE published a final rule titled Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (OGE Standards).4 The OGE Standards, codified at 5 CFR part 2635, became effective February 3, 1993, and established uniform standards of ethical conduct applicable to all executive branch personnel. On August 12, 1993, the Postal Rate Commission collaborated with OGE to publish existing 5 CFR part 5601 as an interim rule. 58 FR 42839 (Aug. 12, 1993). In 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), Public Law 109–435, 120 Stat. 3198 (2006) changed the agency’s name from the Postal Rate Commission to the Postal Regulatory Commission and made several changes to the Commission’s regulatory role. Order No. 3906 at 2–3. The supplemental standards of ethical conduct, existing 5 CFR part 5601, have never been amended or finalized since their 1993 adoption and remain attributed to the Postal Rate Commission. The PAEA’s changes to the Commission’s responsibilities drive the need to modernize the Commission’s supplemental standards of ethical conduct. Moreover, experience has informed the Commission’s view regarding linguistic and organizational revisions to clarify the supplemental standards of ethical conduct. III. Comments The Commission received two sets of comments pertaining to the proposed revisions to the supplemental standards of ethical conduct and the Commission’s ethics rules. Sum Comments. The Commission received the following comment through the www.federalregister.gov Web site: ‘‘Any deletion of ethical conduct would not be in the best interest of the American people due to transparency.’’ 5 PR Comments. The Public Representative supports the proposed revisions.6 He deems it ‘‘critical that the 3 See Executive Order No. 12674, 54 FR 15159 (Apr. 12, 1989); Executive Order No. 12731, 55 FR 42547 (Oct. 17, 1990). 4 See 57 FR 35006–35067, as corrected at 57 FR 48557 (Oct. 27, 1992), 57 FR 52583 (Nov. 4, 1992), and 60 FR 66857–66858 (Dec. 27, 1995). 5 Comment Received from Beth Sum, June 19, 2017 (Sum Comments). For transparency, this comment was posted to the Commission’s Web site and associated with this docket. 6 Public Representative Comments on Notices of Proposed Rulemaking on Amendments to Ethics Rules and Amendments to Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Postal Regulatory Commission, June 26, 2017 (PR Comments). The Public Representative also filed a motion for late acceptance of his comments. Motion E:\FR\FM\01NOR1.SGM Continued 01NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 210 (Wednesday, November 1, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 50491-50493]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-23713]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 210 / Wednesday, November 1, 2017 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 50491]]



DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

2 CFR Chapter IX

5 CFR Chapter XXIII

10 CFR Chapters II, III and X

41 CFR Chapter 109

48 CFR Chapter 9


Availability of Final Report on Regulatory Review Under Executive 
Order 13783

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notification of final report on regulatory review.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Through this document, the Department of Energy (DOE) 
announces the availability of its report issued under Executive Order 
13783, ``Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth''.

DATES: The Secretary signed the final report on October 24, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the report are available for public inspection at 
the U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence 
Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. Public inspection can be conducted 
between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays. This report is being published in its entirety and can also 
be accessed online at https://www.energy.gov/downloads/final-report-regulatory-review-under-executive-order-13783.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Cohen, U.S. Department of 
Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20585. Telephone: (202) 586-5000. Email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Energy (DOE) announces the 
availability of its report issued under Executive Order 13783, 
``Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth''. The report 
provides the recommendations of DOE's Regulatory Reform Task Force to 
reduce regulatory burdens on domestic energy resources, and is 
published as an appendix to this document and available at https://www.energy.gov/downloads/final-report-regulatory-review-under-executive-order-13783.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on October 26, 2017.
Shena A. Kennerly,
Acting Director, Office of the Executive Secretariat, Department of 
Energy.

Appendix

Department of Energy

Final Report on Regulatory Review Under Executive Order 13783

    On March 28, 2017, the President signed Executive Order (EO) 
13783, entitled ``Promoting Energy Independence and Economic 
Growth.'' Among other things, EO 13783 requires the heads of 
agencies to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance 
documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions 
(collectively, ``agency actions'') that potentially burden \1\ the 
development or use of domestically produced energy resources, with 
particular attention to oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy 
resources. Such review does not include agency actions that are 
mandated by law, necessary for the public interest, and consistent 
with the policy set forth elsewhere in that order.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Executive Order 13783 defined burden for purposes of the 
review of existing regulations to mean to unnecessarily obstruct, 
delay, curtail, or otherwise impose significant costs on the siting, 
permitting, production, utilization, transmission, or delivery of 
energy resources.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On May 18, 2017, I submitted to the Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) the Department of Energy's (DOE) plan to 
review its agency actions under EO 13783. The plan was also sent to 
the Vice President, the Assistant to the President for Economic 
Policy, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and the 
Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). In the plan, I 
stated that DOE's Regulatory Reform Task Force (Task Force) would 
conduct the review of agency actions subject to review under EO 
13783.
    On May 30, 2017, DOE published in the Federal Register a Request 
for Information (RFI), seeking input and other assistance from 
entities significantly affected by regulations of the DOE, including 
State, local, and tribal governments, small businesses, consumers, 
non-governmental organizations, and manufacturers and their trade 
associations.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ 82 FR 24582 (May 30, 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DOE's goal in publishing the RFI was to ``create a systematic 
method for identifying those existing DOE rules that are obsolete, 
unnecessary, unjustified, or simply no longer make sense.'' DOE 
decided to solicit views on: (a) How DOE could best conduct its 
analysis of existing agency actions, and (b) insights on specific 
rules or Department-imposed obligations that should be altered or 
eliminated.
    The comment period on the RFI closed on July 14, 2017. DOE 
received 132 separate public comments from decision-makers, 
stakeholders, and the public on rules promulgated by DOE and the 
burdens some of those rules have imposed. The Task Force has 
evaluated these comments to achieve meaningful regulatory reform in 
a manner consistent with our commitment to public participation in 
the rulemaking process.
    DOE sought views on the specific rules or Department-imposed 
obligations that should be altered or eliminated, because knowledge 
about the full effects of a rule is widely dispersed in society, and 
members of the public are likely to have useful information and 
perspectives on the benefits and burdens of existing requirements 
and how regulatory obligations may be updated, streamlined, revised, 
or repealed to better achieve regulatory objectives, while 
minimizing regulatory burdens, consistent with applicable law. 
Interested parties may also be well-positioned to identify those 
rules that are most in need of reform, and, thus, assist the 
Department in prioritizing and properly tailoring its review 
process.
    Beyond the RFI, the Task Force reviewed DOE Directives, Orders, 
Manuals, and Policies designed to ensure the effective management 
and operation of the National Laboratories, which contribute to 
American economic growth and energy security. Also, with the help of 
the Office of Management and staff for the Under Secretary of 
Energy, we reviewed DOE's Directives, Orders, Manuals, and Policies 
specifically for burdens on domestic energy production.
    In addition to the work conducted to comply with EO 13783, DOE 
will continue to review all agency actions to assure that DOE does 
not burden domestic energy production. For example, as discussed 
below, we will review agency actions concerning fossil fuel 
consumption in Federal buildings, impact of building codes, and 
nuclear export licensing. DOE is committed to reducing regulatory 
burdens on the American people to unleash domestic energy production 
and promote job creation and economic growth.

Recommendations To Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Domestic Energy 
Resources

    Based on a review of the comments received in response to the 
RFI, coupled with the work of the Task Force to identify both 
internal and external agency actions that inhibit domestic energy 
development and use, DOE's Task Force offers the following 
recommendations:

[[Page 50492]]

    (1) Streamline Natural Gas Exports;
    (2) Review National Laboratory Policies;
    (3) Review National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Regulations; 
and
    (4) Review the DOE Appliance Standards Program.

DOE Task Force Recommendations

(1) Streamline Natural Gas Exports

    Several commenters encouraged DOE to expedite exports of 
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
    On September 1, 2017, DOE announced a proposed rule to provide 
faster approval of small-scale natural gas exports, including LNG. 
This measure will expedite the review and approval of applications 
to export small amounts of natural gas in the emerging small-scale 
LNG export market. Under the Natural Gas Act, DOE has jurisdiction 
over imports and exports of natural gas. For applications to export 
natural gas to countries without a qualifying free trade agreement 
(non-free trade agreement countries), DOE must conduct a public 
interest review before authorizing an export. This proposed rule 
provides that DOE, upon receipt of any complete application to 
export natural gas (including LNG) to non-free trade agreement 
countries, will grant the application if the application meets two 
criteria: The application proposes to export no more than 0.14 
billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), and the proposed export 
qualifies for a categorical exclusion under DOE's NEPA regulations.
    For applications meeting these criteria, the exports are 
considered ``small-scale natural gas exports'' and are deemed in the 
public interest under the Natural Gas Act. Exports of natural gas to 
free trade agreement countries are already deemed in the public 
interest under the Act.
    The Task Force will also consider whether future rulemakings can 
allow for expedited processing of larger-scale exports of natural 
gas as consistent with applicable law and DOE's statutory authority.

(2) Review National Laboratory Policies

    DOE manages several National Laboratories that support the 
Department's energy, science, and nuclear non-proliferation 
missions. As part of our review, the Task Force conducted a 
comprehensive review of operations and procedures at the National 
Labs. The National Labs conduct research and development of 
innovative technologies that have the potential to enable future 
energy production. The Task Force identified several areas for 
reform that would permit the National Laboratories to operate more 
efficiently, focusing more time and resources on their mission-
critical work: Conducting early-stage research and development of 
innovative energy technologies that advance American economic growth 
and energy security.

(3) Review DOE's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
Regulations and Implementation

    DOE received comments on the RFI concerning streamlining and 
simplifying the agency's external regulations (10 CFR 1021) and 
internal operations to improve effectiveness and efficiency of NEPA 
document approval processes. The Task Force is comprehensively 
reviewing NEPA and offers several specific recommendations to reform 
DOE's NEPA processes to optimize and ensure compliance with existing 
statutes, CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508), and EO.
    Specific NEPA recommendations include:
     Reform the NEPA process for permitting and export 
applications, including LNG and infrastructure.
     Review existing NEPA policies to assess whether DOE 
should grant more categorical exclusions. Further, enable DOE's 
adoption of categorical exclusions already approved by other Federal 
agencies, and foster interagency collaboration, such as working with 
the Bureau of Land Management to consider categorical exclusions for 
geothermal energy on Federal lands.
     Remove language in DOE Regulations (10 CFR 1021) that 
is not consistent with overarching CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1500-
1508).

(4) Review DOE Appliance Standards Program

    Pursuant to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 
(EPCA), DOE implements minimum energy conservation standards and 
separate test procedures for more than 60 categories of appliances. 
DOE's energy conservation standards apply to this EO because they 
impact U.S. energy consumption, the vast majority of which comes 
from oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear resources.
    Below is a summary of the various public comments and proposals 
that DOE has received and is considering:
     Review the Process Rule. Many commenters have asked DOE 
to follow and review the 1996 Process Rule (10 CFR Appendix A to 
Subpart C). The Process Rule describes the procedures, 
interpretations, and policies that guide DOE in establishing new or 
revised energy-efficiency standards for consumer products. Given our 
commitment to transparency and regulatory certainty, DOE will 
consider issuing a RFI to gather additional feedback from 
stakeholders on how to amend or improve the Process Rule.
     Reduce the Burden of Serial Rule-making. Many 
stakeholders, including manufacturers and small businesses, regard 
as overly burdensome and unnecessary the statutory requirement to 
reconsider standards at least once every six years.
    [cir] Commenters offered similar feedback in response to the 
Department of Commerce's RFI pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum 
on Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for 
Domestic Manufacturing.
    [cir] Commenters of both DOE's and Commerce's RFI suggest 
extending the time period between consideration of standards to give 
regulated industries more time to comply. This would require 
statutory changes, which are outside the scope of EO 13783.
    However, DOE will consider other agency actions to reduce 
regulatory burdens on American families and businesses. As stated 
below, such reforms would give DOE more time to determine, before 
considering amending standards for a product, whether costs were 
accurately estimated and expected energy savings were realized.
    The current 6-year review process may not provide adequate time 
for such a retrospective analysis, which is critical to determine 
whether energy conservation standards are working as intended and 
the underlying assumptions are sound.
    [cir] In lieu of statutory changes to the 6-year review period, 
DOE should consider ``no amended standards'' determinations when 
supported by data and when small energy savings require significant 
upfront cost to achieve.
    [cir] Consider voluntary, non-regulatory, and market-based 
alternatives to standards-setting. For example, when appropriate and 
consistent with the law, consider using established industry test 
procedures as the DOE test procedures.
    [cir] Consider establishing a baseline for energy savings that 
qualify as not significant and thus not economically justified.
    [cir] Refrain from enacting standards through a direct final 
rule because of the economic burden it may impose on households and 
the lack of consumer voice in the rulemaking process.
     Improve Cost-Benefit Analysis. EPCA requires DOE to 
promulgate rules that are economically justified, but this 
definition is subject to interpretation. Setting clear definitions 
that evaluate the comprehensive range of costs and benefits is 
crucial to ensure that DOE's conservation standards save energy 
while minimizing economic burdens. Some topics for consideration 
include:
    [cir] Establish internal DOE standards for how to regulate when 
large portions of the public would bear net costs (costs exceed 
benefits). Adopting a standard for determining a level at which the 
net cost is too large would preserve resources and mitigate burdens 
on consumers.
    [cir] Conduct a retrospective review of previous standards to 
assess the validity of DOE's analysis before it is used in new 
rules. This would give DOE enough time to collect information on 
consumer preferences and behavior, including surveys of consumers.
     Reconsider standards and test procedures for particular 
products. Commenters identified numerous standards and test 
procedures for reconsideration, citing excessive regulatory burdens. 
DOE is evaluating these comments, examples of which include:
    [cir] Review standards for natural gas products to consider 
whether the standards are inconsistent with the intent of EO 13783 
to minimize regulatory burdens on domestic energy resources.
    [cir] Reconsider, or refrain from establishing, certain 
standards, including commercial packaged boilers, commercial and 
industrial fans and blowers, the refrigerated beverage vending 
machine standards rule published in 2016; the commercial 
refrigeration equipment standards rule published in 2014; the 
residential furnace fan rule published in 2014; and the residential 
water heaters standards published in 2010. Other commenters 
recommend maintaining many of these standards.

[[Page 50493]]

    [cir] Repeal or reconsider several test procedures, including 
for compressors, residential central air conditioners and heat 
pumps, and consumer and commercial water heaters. Other commenters 
recommend maintaining current test procedures.
     Follow the requirements of EO 13783 when analyzing 
climate impacts. EO 13783 withdraws certain documents concerning the 
development of the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) and requires agencies 
to follow the requirements of OMB Circular A-4 in climate analyses. 
DOE will follow these requirements in our regulations. Also, some 
commenters encouraged DOE not to use SCC to calculate the climate 
impacts of regulations.
    In addition to the recommendations listed above, DOE is 
committed to enhancing engagement with stakeholders in an open and 
transparent process. Building on the listening session held on 
October 2, 2017, DOE is preparing to send a letter to each of the 
Department's Federal Advisory Committees requesting them to include 
regulatory reform on the agenda for their next meeting. DOE will 
also consider holding additional listening sessions on a semi-
regular basis to gather feedback and hold the Department accountable 
to the public.
    Furthermore, DOE will continue to consider other areas where it 
may be possible to relieve burdens on domestic energy production. 
For example, DOE will consider, consistent with Federal law, 
possible flexibility for regulations relating to fossil fuel 
consumption in Federal buildings, buildings codes, nuclear export 
licensing, and DOE's proposed nuclear damage contingent cost 
allocation rule. In short, we will remain committed to reducing 
burdens on all kinds of domestic energy production.

Section 2(d) of EO 13783

    These recommendations comprise DOE's final report, which will be 
submitted to the Vice President, the OMB Director, the Assistant to 
the President for Economic Policy, the Assistant to the President 
for Domestic Policy, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental 
Quality, as required by section 2(d) of EO 13783.
    If implemented, these recommendations would alleviate or 
eliminate aspects of agency actions that burden domestic energy 
development, production, and use.

    October 24, 2017

Rick Perry,
Secretary of Energy

[FR Doc. 2017-23713 Filed 10-31-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6450-01-P