Last year we covered Executive Order 13,563 (“Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review”) outlining the Obama administration’s regulatory strategy. One of the prongs of that strategy was the retrospective analysis of existing rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome.

As a result of that government-wide review of regulations already on the books, twenty-six executive agencies as well as a few independent agencies identified initiatives to reduce burdens and unjustified costs. Preliminary plans were released for public comment; final plans were formulated later in the summer of 2011; and this month, agency updates on regulatory reform became available on the White House page for a “21st-century regulatory system.” In a post on the OMBlog yesterday, Prof. Cass Sunstein, the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, highlights some of the featured plans and reform progress.

This is an ongoing effort and, in fact, figured in the State of the Union address last week (the full transcript of which is available here). President Obama alluded to Executive Order 13,563 noting: “There’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly.  (…) I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense. We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years.  We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill — because milk was somehow classified as an oil.”

It will therefore be interesting to see how the effort to eliminate regulatory burdens and cut waste will continue to unfold, including the latest updates from independent agencies whose reports on retrospective review are not yet available on the website linked to above.