On May 17, 2018, the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President issued a public request for information or RFI “seeking public input on how the Federal government may prudently manage regulatory costs imposed on the maritime sector.” Comments are due July 16, 2018.

The genesis of the RFI is Executive Order 13771, issued January 30, 2017, which, among other things, directed federal agencies to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to make recommendations regarding which regulations should be repealed, replaced or modified. The object of the Executive Order and each Task Force is to promote economic activity by eliminating outdated, unnecessary or ineffective regulations or regulations which impose costs exceeding benefits.

The May 17, 2018 RFI focuses in particular on enterprises engaged in maritime commerce, including ship construction, vessel manning, vessel operations, port activities and freight forwarding. All maritime activities related to resource extraction, renewable energy, cable laying, and maritime research are also encompassed.

The RFI contains 15 questions “to guide public input.” For example, the RFI asks whether there are “requirements (e.g., flagging, certification, or training rules) that could be streamlined, reduced, or provided in an easier-to-access manner, such as online training and certification.” The RFI also seeks information on “overlapping” regulations, including reporting requirements whether issued by one or more agencies and information on any “rules that are preventing or creating barriers to the adoption of new, innovated technologies in the maritime industry.”

Submissions will be used to guide future regulatory reform proposals, and all comments will be available to the public.