Obama Administration Releases Final Regulatory Review Plans; EPA Designates 35 Regulations for Review in Initial Review Period


Source: SOCMA / EPA
Related Topics: US Environmental Protection Agency

Yesterday, the Obama Administration released the final regulatory review plans for 30 federal departments and agencies. 

These plans derive from the Administration’s January 18 Executive Order, which called on all federal agencies to submit such plans to the White House and its Office of Management and Budget with the goal of streamlining, cutting, or otherwise improving existing regulations. 

In EPA’s final plan, EPA identified 35 regulatory reviews for this first review period (this was up from 31 in the Preliminary Review Plan).  These regulatory reviews will occur every 5 years (with this first one ending in the spring of 2016.)

  • 16 of those can be categorized as “early actions,” meaning that the agency plans to take a specific step “which could lead to modifying, streamlining, expanding or repealing” a regulation during this 2011 calendar year. Reviews of possible interest to the chemical sector include:
    • Equipment Leak Detection and Repair: reducing burden
    • Clean Air Act Title V Permit Programs: simplifying and clarifying requirements
    • Modern science and technology methods in the chemical regulation arena: reducing whole animal testing, reducing costs and burdens, and improving efficiencies;
    • Electronic online reporting of health and safety data under TSCA (as well as FIFRA and FFDCA): reducing burden and improving efficiencies
    • National Priorities List rules: improving transparency
    • Quick changes to some TSCA reporting requirements: reducing burden
    • Multiple air pollutants: coordinating emission reduction regulations and using innovative technologies;
    • New Source Performance Standards reviews and revisions under the Clean Air Act: setting priorities to ensure updates to outdated technologies;
    • Innovative technology: seeking to spur new markets and utilize technological innovations; and
    • The costs of regulations: improving cost estimates
  • The other 19 reviews are longer-term actions, and include:
    • E-manifest : reducing burden
    • Electronic Hazardous Waste Site ID form: reducing burden
    • Export notification for chemicals and pesticides: reducing burden and improving efficiencies
    • Adjusting threshold planning quantities for solids in solution: reducing burden and relying on scientific objectivity; and
    • Section 610 reviews: coordinating requirements

The Plan for Retrospective Reviews

  • EPA will ask the public for additional regulations for review and to supplement those described in this current plan.
  • Every five years, the Retrospective Review will consist of 4 steps:
    • Solicit nominations
    • Select regulations for review
    • Conduct retrospective reviews
    • Make necessary modifications

In each review period, EPA estimates that the first three steps will take approximately 1-year to complete, giving the agency the remaining 4 years (or more if needed) to make any needed modifications.

  • EPA also lays out the criteria for these reviews, and lists how it intends to ensure public involvement in future review periods. Some of the criteria include:
    • Benefits Justify Costs
    • Least Burden
    • Net benefits
    • Performance Objectives
    • Alternatives to direct regulation
  • The agency says that it “plans to routinely involve the public” in the review process, including by starting each review period by soliciting input from the public. Additionally, between the twice yearly updates provided by the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, EPA states that it will “provide updates to Agency reviews on relevant portions of the EPA website,” including
  • In late 2016, EPA will evaluate the first review period.

All 30 final regulatory “look-back” plans (ranging from the Department of Commerce to the Small Business Administration) can be found here:


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