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TRAC 5/28-29/98

Staff Paper # 5


TOPIC: IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY IN THE REGISTRATION AND REREGISTRATION PROCESSES

BACKGROUND:

In light of the Agency's increased efforts to meet the public's desire for more information on pesticide regulatory decisions, OPP has been exploring different facets of its registration and reregistration processes to identify opportunities for greater transparency in its regulatory programs. While some changes have been accomplished in the science review process, additional improvements in the transparency of both the registration and reregistration decision-making processes are being considered.

Currently, FIFRA requires the Agency to provide notice to the public for certain types of regulatory actions:

In addition, FFDCA requires the Agency to publish at least two public notices in establishing or amending a tolerance or an exemption from tolerance. These include:

If the Agency's assessment differs significantly from the findings articulated in the Notice of Filing, the Agency may issue a Proposed Rule inviting public comment before issuing its final determination.

Furthermore, the Agency routinely brings issues of emerging science to the public for review and comment through the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel process.

Except for comments received through the SAP process, historically the Agency generally receives few, if any, comments in response to any of these notices. The reasons for this low response could range from few concerns with the Agency's proposed action, to too many notices for which to prepare responses, to confusion over the technical merits of the proposed action, to inability to receive technical information in a timely manner. Nevertheless, the Agency believes that in order to meet the demands for increased transparency in its decisionmaking and to allow for increased consultation with all interested stakeholders, EPA should identify areas for increased public participation.

OPTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION:

QUESTIONS THAT THE TRAC MIGHT ADDRESS:

Are there common approaches among the stakeholders whereby EPA could improve the "transparency" of its regulatory process?

At what stage(s) of the current regulatory process is it most important for stakeholders to participate?

Do the options that have been put forward to EPA for consideration fully capture the range of options for improving participation and transparency in the regulatory process?


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updated May 22, 1998