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Final Plan for Retrospective Review of Regulations at the FCC

by: Jennifer Tatel, Associate General Counsel

May 18, 2012

The FCC continues to make agency reform a top priority. A key focus of this reform has been carrying out our statutory mission in a way that recognizes changes in technology and the marketplace and reduces burdens on business and industry while promoting incentives for investment and promoting economic growth.

Last year, the President issued an Executive Order to the heads of all independent agencies, including the FCC. The new Executive Order builds on the President's January 2011 Executive Order on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and asks independent agencies to conduct both retrospective and prospective regulatory analyses, consistent with law. Chairman Genachowski has said the agency would act in accordance with the new Executive Order, and that he expects all FCC Bureaus and Offices will perform their responsibilities consistent with the order.

In November 2011, we developed a Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules, which recognized the importance of retrospective analysis and identified numerous Commission proceedings that predated the Executive Order, as the FCC historically has incorporated retrospective review into its rulemaking process.  The Preliminary Plan also described the ongoing agency-wide process of identifying outmoded or counterproductive rules.

Today, the agency releases our Final Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules. The Final Plan represents the Commission’s strategy for incorporating retrospective analysis into the agency’s processes for reviewing its rules.

To date, more than 210 outdated regulations have already been deleted as part of Chairman Genachowski’s robust regulatory review process.  Moreover, the FCC has significantly reduced Commission backlogs, including a 52% reduction in satellite licensing applications and a 30% reduction in broadcast licensing applications. The agency has also reduced the number of open dockets by 43%, including by closing 999 dormant proceedings.  We have sought public comment on closing hundreds more.  The FCC also is looking at the possible elimination of 25 sets of data collections from industry that may no longer be necessary. 

Under Chairman Genachowski's leadership, we are proud of the progress we have made so far. Every part of the Commission is involved in efforts to eliminate outdated regulations and to promote private investment and innovation that creates jobs and spurs economic growth.

Our work is not done. We will continue to promote innovation inside and outside government and to spur economic growth and job creation, while ensuring that the benefits of our rules and policies outweigh the costs and burdens. We encourage comments and suggestions from the public and industry on our ongoing regulatory reform efforts at our dedicated email address innovation@fcc.gov

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