Standards Evaluation & Analysis Division (CG-REG-1) is responsible for evaluating the economic and environmental impact of a rulemaking action initiated by the Coast Guard.
The federal rule-making process is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which requires that federal regulatory agencies to adequately justify their exercise of rulemaking authority. Within the regulatory process the role of economic analysis is often referred to as "cost-benefit analysis." A cost-benefit analysis provides an understanding of the trade-offs, potential effects, and side effects of their actions, including identifying potential changes in behavior by market participants. Economic analysis can also help clarify the problem the proposed rule is aimed at solving and show why a rule would, or would not, improve upon the status quo. Economic analysis can also look beyond the status quo and compare the effects of the proposed rule with alternative rule specifications, or market-based solutions, aimed at addressing the same problem. The value of economic analysis derives from its capacity to provide a clear, credible, and coherent framework for articulating the reasoned basis for regulatory action.
Federal Agencies need to consider the environmental impacts of their actions before they act. The environmental analysis provides an understanding of significant environmental impacts that can arise from USCG actions. It informs decision-makers and the public of the reasonable alternatives, and possibly mitigation, which would avoid or minimize adverse impacts, to enhance the quality of the human and natural environment. Public involvement and consultation with other Federal Agencies, State Agencies, tribal groups and other interested parties is encouraged by several environmental laws, leading to a more informed environmental analysis. The effects of USCG actions on the environment should be treated equally with economic, technical, and other issues associated with the rulemaking or other proposed actions.
The environmental analysis of federal rulemakings is required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and several other environmental laws, executive orders and policies. While NEPA, which is implemented under the President’s Council on Environmental Quality regulations, is the primary driver, some of the other statutes that could compel the environmental analysis of USCG regulatory actions are the Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries and Conservation Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act, among others. The Coast Guard’s chief policy guidance documents on NEPA and the environmental analysis process are the Commandant Instructions, specifically COMDTINST M16475.1D, COMDTINST 16004.2 and DHS Management Directive 023-01
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