EPA Announces Final Rule on Transparency in Guidance Documents

On Monday (9/14), EPA 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 of President Trump’s Executive Order to promote transparency through improved agency guidance practices throughout the federal government.. 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:

  1. Establish the first formal petition process for the public to request that EPA modify, withdraw or reinstate a guidance document;
  2. Ensure that the agency’s guidance documents are developed with appropriate review and are accessible to the public; and
  3. Allow 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 Executive Order 13891 is that guidance documents should only clarify existing obligations and that they should not be a vehicle for implementing new, binding regulatory requirements.