Over the past few years, President Trump has issued a number of presidential directives to ensure that each federal agency, including Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is evaluating and reducing existing regulatory burdens imposed on industry and not promulgating future costly mandates. The following includes highlights from these initiatives.
President’s Deregulatory Initiatives: In early 2017, the President issued guidance requiring all federal agencies to repeal two regulations for every new regulation proposed. The President also ordered that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, should be no greater than zero, unless otherwise required by law or by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The President signed another executive order establishing a Regulatory Reform Task Force at each federal agency.
Streamlining Environmental Reviews: President Trump has directed federal agencies to streamline federal environmental reviews and permitting approvals for infrastructure development, including improving coordination between reviewing agencies and establishing a two-year goal for processing environmental documents on major projects.
Agency Guidance Review: The Administration has focused its attention on agency guidance in 2019. In February, the DOT solicited feedback from the public on all existing DOT and FAA guidance to determine if there were good candidates for repeal or revision. In April, the White House directed a memorandum to all federal agencies, clarifying that any guidance documents must be subjected to a benefit-cost analysis and sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a sub-agency within the Executive Office of the President, prior to being released to the public. This change is expected to bring increased scrutiny to DOT and FAA advisory materials that seek to impose new requirements on airports by circumventing the formal notice-and-comment rulemaking process.
AAAE has been urging the DOT and FAA to adopt common-sense regulatory reform for airports. AAAE worked diligently in coordination with ACI-NA to develop and release a joint airport regulatory reform priority list which included proposed changes in the areas of non-aeronautical land development, non-airfield facilities, airport business practices, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews, passenger facility charges (PFC), and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). In August 2018, AAAE provided the Council on Environmental Quality with recommendations on improving accountability, timelines, and transparency in the NEPA review process.