OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is instructing federal agencies such as OSHA and EPA to evaluate hundreds of regulatory recommendations submitted by outside parties as part of its new annual report on the costs and benefits of regulation.

Most of these recommendations come from industry or trade associations, and many aim to relax health, safety and environmental protections. The Department of Transportation, Department of Labor, and Environmental Protection Agency received 155 recommendations, including suggested reforms of guidance documents. Of the 267 total regulatory recommendations, 52.8 percent advise changes to relax regulation, or in OIRA's words "increase flexibility," and 7.8 percent recommend repealing regulation, while roughly a quarter argue for stronger regulation, according to the group OMB Watch.

The group says these recommendations are being used as a primary tool for ranking regulatory priorities. "OIRA is serving as a conduit for a mostly industry wish list, and demanding that agencies evaluate it," says OMB Watch.

Some of the recommendations - including those submitted by OMB Watch - support stronger health, safety and environmental regulation. "It will be interesting to see if any of these receive priority," says the group.