Tom Ewing’s Regulatory Update

Trucking Safety Summit

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the US DOT, announced a virtual meeting on August 5 called “the FMCSA 2020 Trucking Safety Summit.”  The agency seeks information “to help improve the safe operation of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles on our Nation’s roadways.”  You must register before August 5.  You can see the Agenda at the registration site.  The meeting will provide diverse stakeholders, from trucking companies to safety advocacy groups, a chance to share ideas on trucking safety. Senior FMCSA personnel will facilitate six panel discussions.  After the event, watch for a record of proceedings or Safety Action Plan.  The meeting will include a time for public comments.

Bulk Power System Security

In May, President Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13920 declaring that threats by foreign adversaries to the Nation’s bulk power system (BPS) constitute a national emergency. A successful attack on the BPS would present significant risks to the U.S. economy, public health and defense.  On July 8, DOE published a request for information (RFI) from utilities and energy providers as DOE seeks to research and secure BPS safety likely via upcoming regulations.  This is a complex undertaking, of course, with a critical focus on “supply chain” issues.  DOE originally set August 7 as the comment deadline.  This past week, though, DOE announced a deadline extension to August 24.  The move came after requests from a host of important players, from the American Public Power Association to the Utilities Technology Council to the American Petroleum Institute.

Copy-and-Paste, what a waste…

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published its final rule updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  NEPA horror stories are legendary.  In 1981, for example, the CEQ said that most environmental impact statements (EIS) could be finished within 12 months.  Now, on average, an EIS takes 4.5 years; one quarter takes more than six years!  Average report: 661 pages – not including appendices!  CEQ received 1,145,571 comments on its proposed changes.  1,136,755 of those comments were mass mail, copy-and-paste postings from people whose only goal was to monkey-wrench the process.  CEQ estimates that just 2,359 comments were actually linked to the ideas within the rulemaking.  Everything else was a waste of time.  In one section CEQ writes of certain grammatical corrections where “CEQ determined the changes are necessary for the reader to understand fully the meaning of the sentence.”  Awww c’mon, man – why would you want to do that?
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