The Environmental Protection Agency will conduct an analysis of major newly-proposed regulations in an attempt to guage the impact of those regulations on the economy.
EPA Deputy Administrator Barbara Blum said last week that although the EPA has always done extensive economic analyses in the past on major new regulations, the new policy "will extend that effort and insure that environmental goals will be achieved at the lowest possible cost."
The new policy is a response to a recent presidential order to all agencies calling for all agencies to do economic impact reports on proposed regulations and recent administration charges that environmental regulation is often inflationary and not cost-effective.
The new EPA policy, which goes significantly further than the presidential order mandates, will call for an analysis of alternatives to any proposed regulations that: cost more than $100 million per year: add costs greater than 5 percent of product selling prices; increase energy use by 25,000 barrels of oil per day; or affect supply or demand of certain scarce materials.
"The most important aspect of this," acording to EPA Assistant Administrator William Drayton, "is that we focus our limited resources on the most important regulations . . . those with the most impact. We are choosing priorities. Smaller regulations will be handled in a more expedited fashion."
The EPA has been one of the more aggressive agencies in implementing traditional management cost-effectiveness studies into its operations.
Under its new structure, the EPA gives lower level administrators more authority to develop alternative plans and suggestions before any new regulation proposal reaches the top levels for approval. Such proposals must now include the economic analysis.
The EPA said it is also attempting to "minimize" paperwork and the reporting burden it places on many companies.
According to last week's announcement, "EPA will establish a 'sunset' policy on reporting requirements contained in new regulations. This will terminate automatically those reports that cannot be justified after a set period, usually five years."