Proposed Rulemaking: EPA Guidance; Administrative Procedures for Issuance and Public Petitions
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This action proposes the EPA’s procedures for developing and issuing guidance documents and to establish a petition process for public requests to modify or withdraw an active guidance document. The purpose is to ensure that the EPA's guidance documents are:
- Developed with appropriate review;
- Accessible and transparent to the public; and,
- Provided for public participation in the development of significant guidance documents.
Specifically, consistent with Executive Order 13891, this regulation provides that the EPA will use an online portal to clearly identify active EPA guidance documents for the public and proposes to establish: standard elements for such guidance documents and significant guidance documents, procedures for the EPA to enable the public to comment on proposed significant guidance documents, and procedures for the public to request that an active guidance document be modified or withdrawn. The EPA intends that this regulation be interpreted and implemented in a manner that, consistent with the goals of improving the Agency’s accountability and the transparency of the EPA’s guidance documents, provides appropriate flexibility for the EPA to take those actions necessary to accomplish its mission.
On October 9, 2019, the President signed Executive Order (EO) 13891, "Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents.” EO 13891 directs Federal agencies to finalize regulations that “set forth processes and procedures for issuing guidance documents.” A central principle of the EO is that guidance documents should clarify existing obligations only; they should not be a vehicle for implementing new, binding requirements on the public. EO 13891 recognizes that these documents, when designated as significant guidance documents, could benefit from public input prior to issuance.