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What They Are Saying: EPA Finalizes First Ever Rule to Promote Transparency in Developing Regulatory Guidance Documents

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WASHINGTON (September 14, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Andrew Wheeler announced the final rule to establish consistent requirements and procedures for the issuance of guidance documents. The final rule follows the direction of President Trump’s Executive Order to promote transparency through improved agency guidance practices throughout the federal government. Here's what stakeholders and elected officials are saying:

U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) “It’s great news that the EPA has worked to implement President Trump’s Executive Order to ensure clarity and transparency for guidance documents and the regulatory process. This change might seem minor to some, but if you have ever had to decode a guidance document that seems like a regulation you know all too well how important this is for Oklahoma small businesses who don’t have legal teams to do it for them. I will continue to push Congress to pass the Guidance Clarity Act, which would clarify in law that federal agency guidance documents are not law.”

Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS): “I appreciate President Trump’s and Administrator Wheeler’s commitment to regulatory reform and transparency. This rule will ensure that the public is involved in every step of the decision making process for agency guidance.”

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK): “I am glad to hear the EPA finalized their rule to establish clear requirements in issuing guidance documents. After previous administrations abused the guidance process to initiate regulatory changes that they could not achieve through the permissible regulatory process, I fought for reform of our federal regulations and guidance transparency for years. Fortunately, Andrew Wheeler and President Trump agree with me and continue to strive for transparency while cutting unnecessary red tape.”

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND): “Today’s final rule brings more accountability and transparency to the EPA by making guidance documents and processes available to the public. Well done to Administrator Wheeler for following President Trump’s Executive Order to shine a light on the bureaucracy and curtail burdensome regulatory overreach.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): “This administration is dedicated to making government more efficient and transparent, and today’s announcement is another positive step forward towards those goals. By making these guidance documents publicly available for the first time ever, EPA is able to better protect human and environmental health by sharing this important data.”

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC): “Since being elected in 2015, I have worked to eliminate job-killing regulations that hurt North Carolina businesses by creating unnecessary burdens. This rule will expand transparency and ensure the American people have a say in any new regulations, and I want to thank President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for working to reform the regulatory process and put North Carolina farmers, small businesses, and consumers first.”

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (MO-06): “I commend Administrator Wheeler for moving ahead with this much-needed reform of the EPA’s regulatory process,” Graves said. “This reform will help ensure that EPA guidance development takes into account the input of the public and those who will have to actually comply with the guidance. By eliminating confusion and conflict between differing guidance documents, reducing unnecessary burdens, and closing a back door that has allowed bureaucrats to regulate beyond the scope of existing law, this action will bring more fairness to the EPA’s regulatory mission.”

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-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.”

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): “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.”

U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03): “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.”

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick: “With this action today, President Trump is increasing transparency and eliminating cumbersome and overcomplicated regulations. This move will boost the economy and keep our environmental policies on track.” 

Oklahoma Energy & Environment Secretary Kenneth E. Wagner: “This rule on Guidance Transparency is long overdue.  Clarity dealing with EPA Guidance is so vital to bring certainty for understanding regulation for states, tribes, local governments, industry and NGOs. Prior to this rule, the process of determining what guidance applies has been confusing, tedious and needlessly time consuming. Thank you to Administrator Wheeler for finalizing another common sense reform and further bringing certainty to environmental protection.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge: “President Trump keeps delivering on his promise to put the American people back in charge of agencies like the EPA. The EPA’s new rule ensures that guidance documents creating environmental rules will be available for input by all Americans who will be affected. By requiring the EPA to make guidance documents publicly available and to allow Americans to help create or change them, the new rule boosts transparency in the regulatory process. I thank the President and Administrator Wheeler for putting Americans back into the process of protecting the environment for generations to come.”