C. Alternative Regulatory Approaches

Once you have determined that Federal regulatory action is appropriate, you will need to consider alternative regulatory approaches. Ordinarily, you will be able to eliminate some alternatives through a preliminary analysis, leaving a manageable number of alternatives to be evaluated according to the formal principles of the Executive Order. The number and choice of alternatives selected for detailed analysis is a matter of judgment. There must be some balance between thoroughness and the practical limits on your analytical capacity. With this qualification in mind, you should nevertheless explore modifications of some or all of a regulation’s attributes or provisions to identify appropriate alternatives. The following is a list of alternative regulatory actions that you should consider.

Different Choices Defined by Statute

When a statute establishes a specific regulatory requirement and the agency is considering a more stringent standard, you should examine the benefits and costs of reasonable alternatives that reflect the range of the agency’s statutory discretion, including the specific statutory requirement.

Different Compliance Dates

The timing of a regulation may also have an important effect on its net benefits. Benefits may vary significantly with different compliance dates where a delay in implementation may result in a substantial loss in future benefits (e.g., a delay in implementation could result in a significant reduction in spawning stock and jeopardize a fishery). Similarly, the cost of a regulation may vary substantially with different compliance dates for an industry that requires a year or more to plan its production runs. In this instance, a regulation that provides sufficient lead time is likely to achieve its goals at a much lower overall cost than a regulation that is effective immediately.

Different Enforcement Methods

Compliance alternatives for Federal, State, or local enforcement include on-site inspections, periodic reporting, and noncompliance penalties structured to provide the most appropriate incentives. When alternative monitoring and reporting methods vary in their benefits and costs, you should identify the most appropriate enforcement framework. For example, in some circumstances random monitoring or parametric monitoring will be less expensive and nearly as effective as continuous monitoring.

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