EPA Announces Final Rule on Regulatory Guidance Transparency

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Washington, September 14, 2020 | Doug Levine (202-225-2315) | comments

Today, members of the Western Caucus released the following statements after the Environmental Protection Agency announced their final rule on regulatory guidance transparency. 

“Today’s announcement by EPA is another example of this Administration putting transparency at the forefront of their decision making. The American people deserve to know the exact science that goes behind regulatory decisions and this new rule will make that possible. I thank Administrator Wheeler for his hard work and his great leadership at EPA,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04). 

"I applaud the Trump Administration’s efforts to ensure the fundamentals of guidance transparency and public participation at the EPA. Under the Obama Administration, Wyoming’s ranchers, farmers, and energy producers suffered the consequences of guidance documents drafted by Washington bureaucrats with little to no input from local stakeholders. This new rule will ensure that the livelihoods of the American people are prioritized over the political agenda of unelected environmental activists," said Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY-AL). 

“The American people deserve an opportunity to actively engage in the regulatory process, and increased transparency leads to more government accountability. President Trump promised his Administration would work to promote more transparency within the federal government, and I am pleased to see Administrator Wheeler fulfilling this promise," said Vice Chairman for Departments of Interior and Energy Dan Newhouse (WA-04).

“This EPA initiative is a huge step forward in providing the public with clear, consistent regulatory guidelines. Cutting red tape and promoting transparency is something all regulatory agencies should prioritize, and I applaud the EPA for their work on this issue. I look forward to seeing these processes benefit the American people," said Vice Chairman for Infrastructure and Forestry Bruce Westerman (AR-04). 

"As a sportsman, I truly believe that protecting the environment is a crucial priority. But too often, when the EPA develops new federal guidance, the public is shut out by red tape, and transparency takes a back seat to the whims of EPA bureaucrats. Today's announcement by President Trump is an important one, both for our environment and good governance. This final rule will make the EPA's work open and accessible to the American people, and I am grateful to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to reigning in the federal government and preventing potential overreach," said Vice Chairman for Indian Affairs and Fisheries Don Young (AK-AL). 

“President Trump and Administrator Wheeler once again are showing leadership on overhauling regulations to ensure the Environmental Protection Agency works for Americans and not against them. By clarifying existing rules and the rulemaking process, the Trump Administration is keeping its promise by providing unprecedented access for the public to the EPA. Unlike the previous Administration that only offered access to trial lawyers and environmentalist groups, everyone will now have the ability to view and understand these processes that effect so much of our economy, ” said Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08). 

“By increasing transparency, Americans will gain more faith in the federal government. I appreciate EPA Administrator Wheeler’s actions. My hope is other parts of our government will follow suit to do the same,” said Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX-26). 

“The Trump Administration is doing great work at the EPA to ensure transparency in their regulatory processes. For too long, the American public was left out of the regulatory process, creating mistrust between the people and the government. The new rule works to remedy this issue to establish transparency between the agency, the American public, and relevant stakeholders to understand and be involved in the processes moving forward,” said Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03).  

“I am pleased to see the Administration require transparency from the EPA. Allowing public participation in the development of policies and guidelines helps keep government agencies accountable," said Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02). 

“For too many years, the EPA has produced burdensome and onerous regulations that negatively impact Kansans, without first giving farmers, ranchers and business owners the opportunity to participate in the rule-making process. I applaud the EPA’s efforts to add greater transparency and consistency as it drafts and modifies guidance documents. Kansans will finally have the opportunity to fully engage with the EPA and make their voices heard during the rule-making process,” said Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-01).  

“Today’s announcement represents an important step toward making the EPA’s infamously opaque regulatory process more open, transparent and accessible to stakeholders who bear the crushing costs of heavy-handed federal regulation. I applaud the President and Administrator Wheeler for this common-sense change,” said Congressman Tom Tiffany (WI-07). 

"This rule is critical for increasing public access and participation in the EPA’s guidance process. We must ensure that agency decisions and guidance documents are transparent and readily available to the public. Improving EPA administrative procedures and requirements ensures the transparency and accessibility that the public deserves," said Congressman Paul Cook (CA-08). 

“For much too long government agencies have operated under a veil of secrecy. Thankfully, the Trump Administration has tirelessly worked to promote transparency throughout the federal government. The announcement today by the EPA, which has been one of the most dictatorial parts of our government, regarding public participation in the EPA’s rules process is a giant step forward in making better regulations and ensures these rules and procedures are most effective in protecting the environment. It allows input from people who actually know the real world effect of arbitrary rules so bureaucrats in cubicles without exposure to the real world don’t get to dictate our lives. This change is one of the largest administrative adjustments made in recent history, and will do even more to protect us all,” said Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01).  

“Thank you to the Trump Administration and EPA for their continued efforts in creating consistent procedures for establishing guidance. These reforms are long overdue and I am pleased to see that we are working toward even more transparency for the American people,” said Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03). 

Background Courtesy of the EPA

The final rule will significantly increase the transparency of EPA’s guidance practices and will improve the agency’s process for managing guidance documents. The rule, among other elements, will:

  • Establishes the first formal petition process for the public to request that EPA modify, withdraw or reinstate a guidance document.
  • Ensure that the agency’s guidance documents are developed with appropriate review and are accessible to the public.
  • Allows public participation in the development of significant guidance documents.

On October 9, 2019, President Trump issued Executive Order 13891, Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents, to promote transparency by ensuring that all active guidance documents are made available to the public. A central principle of EO 13891 is that guidance documents should only clarify existing obligations and that they should not be a vehicle for implementing new, binding requirements on American businesses. 

Prior to today’s action, on July 28, 2020, EPA finalized a guidance portal that provides public access to agency guidance documents. In doing so, EPA brought over 9,000 guidance documents out of the darkness and made the entire set of active guidance available to the public for the first time. To access the portal, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/guidance

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