President Trump signed another Executive Order (EO) on January 30, 2017, entitled Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.  The new EO, applicable to the entire Executive Branch, including all federal administrative agencies, makes a straightforward directive: “…for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination.”  The Order goes on to state that the costs associated with any new regulations may not exceed the savings realized by repealing at least two prior regulations (“the total incremental cost of all new regulations…shall be no greater than zero.”).

Continue Reading New Executive Order Requires Agencies to Withdraw 2 Regulations for Every 1 Proposed

In his first days as President, Donald Trump has issued several directives to expedite pipeline and energy infrastructure projects and bring pipe steel manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.   Through an executive order, the President directed federal agencies to expedite environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects, with emphasis on “high priority” projects such as pipelines.  In addition, the President issued two executive memoranda to renew and expedite the approval of two oil pipeline construction projects, the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  In another executive memo, Trump directed the Commerce Department to prepare a plan under which all new and repaired pipe used in the U.S. would be manufactured stateside.  In issuing these presidential directives, the new administration has furthered prior commitments to support pipeline infrastructure and domestic jobs, but whether these directives can truly expedite the necessary remaining approvals for Keystone XL and DAPL remains uncertain in light of limited consequence of these executive directives (beyond the executive branch) and the inevitable legal challenges.

Continue Reading Pipelines and Infrastructure Projects are Front and Center in Administration’s First Days

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently released the final “Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.”  The Framework addresses procedures and processes for reducing cyber risks to critical infrastructure – which includes the transportation sector and pipeline systems.  These voluntary guidelines address existing global cybersecurity standards and practices and summarize cybersecurity activities common across critical infrastructure sectors.  The Framework was developed by NIST for the purpose of helping organizations to understand, communicate, and manage cyber risks, and is a key deliverable under Executive Order 13636 and Presidential Policy Directive 21 issued by President Obama on February 12, 2013.

Continue Reading Issuance of Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Framework and Launch of DHS Cyber Community Program

During his State of the Union Address, President Obama unveiled an Executive Order (EO) and Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) to improve critical infrastructure cybersecurity . The EO and PPD come in the wake of two failed attempts by Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation, and are generally aimed at seeking to improve relationships across the federal government and industry to strengthen critical infrastructure security. The EO and PPD also contain several directives relevant to pipeline operators. Among these, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is directed to establish a national physical infrastructure center and cyber infrastructure center to serve as “focal points” for critical infrastructure owners to obtain information to protect their facilities. The EO also requires the federal government to develop a “Cybersecurity Framework” to address cyber risks, and outline a voluntary critical infrastructure cybersecurity program to promote sharing of information by private infrastructure owner/operators. The EO also requires DHS to formulate a risk-based list of critical infrastructure most vulnerable to a cybersecurity incident. The EO and PPD prescribe fairly aggressive deadlines for accomplishment of these directives. Click here for a full summary and to review the Executive Order and PPD.