Kicking off what promises to be a long and tough fight to bring modern management techniques to the federal government's regulatory structure, the Carter administration unveiled its first semi-annual regulatory calander yesterday.
The calender -- a listing of 109 rules under consideration by 20 agencies -- is the first product of the recently created Regulatory Council, a group of representatives from 35 federal agencies headed by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Douglas Costle.
In a pess conference yesterday, Costle said the calendar "gives the public, the Congress, the president and the regulators themselves an overview of most of the significant health safety environmental and economic regulatory actions now being considered throughout the government."
Castle called the calendar "the single most important tool we have as regulators to carry out the assignment President Carter gave the council last October: to coordinate federal regulatory activities, to expand our efforts to manage the entire regulatory process more effectively and to achieve statutory goals in a cost-effective manner."
The calendar and the council have stirred considerable controversy among regulators, who are concerned that the White House is attempting to usurp their powers.
But Costle and Regulatory Council Executive Director Peter Petkas have defended their actions as attempts only to streamline government operations and to accomplish goals in the most efficient way possible.
They say the calendar is designed to help point out duplicative efforts, and to allow federal officials to get priorities.
"The calendar not only describes the costs and burdens of regulation, it also reveals the scope and depth of our commitment as people to correct market inequities and emedy social injustices," Costle said yesterday.
He said the calendar not only will help point out areas of potential duplication and overlap, but will "identify economic sectors facing multiple regulatory actions."
In the calendar, each reporting agency has summarized the proposed regulations it is working on, and listed several facts about them.
For each proposed regulation, for example, the agency involved must list the sectors of population and industry affected, the alternatives under study, the statutory authority of the agency and the proposed timetable for promulgating the regulation.
Costle said this first calendar "marks a significant milestone in the collective ability of the regulatory agencies to examine their actions and produce the most-cost-effective rules possible."