EPA Rolls Back Public Input on Guidance

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Chris Kearney | NSWA Vice President, Governmental Affairs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Wednesday that it is rescinding a Trump Administration rule that would have enabled public input on agency guidance. The agency said in a statement that its rescission would restore its ability to provide “timely” guidance that people can rely on. 

“By rescinding the internal rule on guidance, EPA will restore the flexibilities needed to effectively address urgent public health, safety, and environmental challenges, so we can effectively deliver on our mission,” agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. 

The rescission will take effect once it is published in the Federal Register – a date yet to be determined but usually within a few weeks of a public announcement. The now-rescinded rule would have required the agency to respond to requests to withdraw a guidance within 90 days. 

Former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler previously said, “This rule sheds light on guidance document development and provides for public participation in the process for the first time.”

However, those opposed said it would have undermined the work of prior administrations and given various industries a chance to challenge agency-issued guidance that they dislike. 

President Biden Initiates Senate Meetings on Infrastructure Legislation 

President Joe Biden has held a series of high-level bipartisan meeting with Senators who lead committees of jurisdiction over traditional infrastructure as well as key House leaders.

Broadly speaking, the GOP and the White House remain far apart on three key aspects of infrastructure negotiations: 1) definition of “infrastructure;” 2) spending levels – GOP proposing $600-800 billion and Democrats as high as $2.2 trillion; 3) how to pay for it – GOP favors user fees and Democrats favor repealing the 2017 corporate and high-income-earners rate cuts.

These meeting are intended to explore whether the two sides can break the log jam over the three areas.      

Specifically, the President met individually with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) – Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee – and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Tom Carper (D-DE). 

Notably, Biden will also meet with a group of six Senate Republicans, five of whom are the top Republican Members of Senate committees with infrastructure-related jurisdiction, to discuss the American Jobs Plan: Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Roy Blunt (R-MO).

He also met with the top four congressional leaders: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

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