Thursday, January 27, 2011

USCG / DHS Regulatory Affairs

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Ms. Mary Kate Whalen, Associate General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs Law Division, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S. Coast Guard has one of the broadest missions in DHS, encompassing maritime safety and security, law enforcement, border protection, and environmental protection.

It’s not surprising, then, that the Coast Guard also has the largest and most varied regulatory agenda of any of the department’s components. The Coast Guard issues hundreds of regulations each year, ranging from local field regulations establishing or revising safety and security zones to complex regulatory actions proposing environmental protections and maritime security initiatives.

Regulations Can Improve Security
When DHS promulgates regulations to further the security of the homeland, it imposes obligations on millions of citizens—legally binding obligations that can result in significant costs. Therefore, it is critical that DHS regulations are well coordinated—within the department and the executive branch—to ensure that regulatory initiatives are implemented in compliance with applicable statutory authorities.

These regulations must also be the product of reasoned decision-making and consistent with the policies and priorities established by the White House, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and, with respect to Coast Guard regulations, the Commandant of the Coast Guard.

A Centralized Regulatory Process
The Regulatory Affairs Law Division’s Office of the General Counsel manages the centralized regulatory process for DHS. Regulatory Affairs works closely with the Coast Guard’s Office of Regulations and Administrative Law to coordinate Coast Guard regulations within DHS and through OMB’s interagency review process.

USCG/DHS Coordination
Regulatory Affairs economists also work closely with the Coast Guard’s Standards Evaluation and Analysis Division to develop and coordinate regulatory impact assessments supporting the Coast Guard’s regulatory initiatives.

The close partnership between Regulatory Affairs and the Coast Guard’s regulatory staff remains a highly valuable component of the continued success of the Coast Guard’s regulatory program.

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