EPA Releases Plan to Review Environmental Regulations

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Following Executive Order 13563, EPA plans to review and revise some of its rules.

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After a two-month public comment period, the US Environmental Protection Agency has recently released a plan for conducting over thirty reviews of existing environmental regulations.

According to its plan, EPA will conduct about half of its reviews quickly so it can modify the reviewed regulations by the end of 2011. For example, the agency plans to reduce redundancy in regulations on vehicle fuel vapor recovery systems, limit whole-animal testing, remove burdensome chemical regulations, and integrate national vehicle emission standards with California standards.

The agency will conduct its remaining reviews over a longer period. These longer-term reviews will, for example, investigate ways to coordinate requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act, reduce the burden of State Implementation Plans under the Clean Air Act, and improve the certification process for pesticides applicators.

EPA’s plan also creates a cycle of five-year regulatory reviews. Each cycle will begin with a call for nominations of regulations to review, affording the public an opportunity to suggest reforms. The EPA will then examine selected regulations and change them if necessary.

EPA’s plan results from Executive Order 13563, which President Obama issued in January. President Obama’s order supplements one that President Clinton issued in 1993, and each president since has maintained, which directs agencies to conduct cost-benefit analyses before they issue significant new rules. Obama’s order also requires administrative agencies to “look back” at the effectiveness of previously enacted regulations, so as to reduce regulations “that are needlessly stifling job creation and economic growth.”