The Washington Times - May 26, 2011, 02:57PM

The Obama administration on Thursday said it plans to eliminate or streamline scores of overly burdensome government regulations in a move officials said would save taxpayers and businesses billions of dollars over time.

At the White House’s direction, 30 agencies laid out proposals aimed at stimulating economic growth by removing regulatory burdens on businesses, individuals and local governments. The ideas, which range from exempting dairy farmers from oil-spill-prevention rules to eliminating redundant reporting requirements, are the result of a four-month review of federal regulations.

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“Our goal is to change the regulatory culture of Washington by constantly asking what’s working and what isn’t,” Cass Sunstein, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, explained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

For example, he noted, milk has been defined as “oil” since the 1970s — a designation that subjects it to burdensome rules aimed at preventing oil spills. Dairy farmers weighed in on the rule in response to President Obama’s charge to eliminate unjustifiable regulations, and the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to exempt the industry. That move could save the milk producers more than $1 billion over the next decade, the administration predicts.

Cutting red tape for business is an idea that appeals to both sides of the aisle. Reacting to the administration’s announcement, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, called on lawmakers to support a bill of hers that would require all federal agencies to conduct periodic reviews of their rules and the impact on small businesses.

“By examining the effectiveness and purpose of federal regulations, we can achieve our shared goals of protecting the environment, consumers and worker safety while encouraging small businesses to do what they do best — create jobs and innovate for the future,” she said.