WASHINGTON — In at a speech in front of the Federalist Society, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the final rule to establish consistent requirements and procedures for the issuance of guidance documents. The final rule follows the direction to promote transparency through improved agency guidance practices throughout the federal government.
“Today’s action is perhaps the biggest change in administrative procedures in a generation and one of the five pillars of EPA reform,” Wheeler said. “This historic rule guarantees the transparency the public deserves when engaging with the agency. This is a massive step forward for EPA bringing these legal documents into the light.”
The final rule will 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:
Establish 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;
♦ Allow public participation in the development of significant guidance documents.
A central principle of Executive Order 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.
In July, EPA finalized a guidance portal that provides public access to agency guidance documents. In doing so, EPA brought more than 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, visit: www.epa.gov/guidance.
For additional information on the rule, visit: www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/epa-guidance-administrative-procedures-issuance-and-public-petitions.