In a memorandum issued on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, OMB directed Federal agencies to consider the cumulative effects of new regulatory requirments and take active steps to avoid them. Sunstein calls on agencies to follow several steps to identify cumulative effects and reduce redundant, overlapping and inconsisten requirements. Among the steps suggested are:
- Early consultation, advance notice, and close engagement with affected stakeholders.
- Use of Requests for Information and Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to gather public input.
- Identification of opportunities to increase the net benefits of regulations and to reduce administrative and other costs, while meeting policy goals and legal requirements.
- Careful consideraion, in the analysis of costs and benefits, of the relationship between new regulations and regulations that are already in effect.
“Where appropriate and feasible, agencies should consider cumulative effects and opportunities for regulatory harmonization as part of their analysis of particular rules, and should carefully assess the appropriate content and timing of rules in light of those effects and opportunities.” Agencies should avoid unintentional burdens that could result from exclusive focus on the most recent regulatory activites and should “select, in choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, those approaches that maximize net benefits.”
The large number of Requests for Information and Advance Notices from NIH, NSF and other agencies heavily vested in funding research is clearly consistent with these guidelines from OMB.