The Fall 2015 Regulatory Agenda is Out, and the Clock is Now Ticking

Comment are off

By James Goodwin, Center for Progressive Reform

Opponents of safeguards are fond of decrying what they claim is a regulatory system out of control, churning out rules at a break-neck pace.  It’s not difficult to refute  this claim when the president releases the twice-annual regulatory agenda, which spells out all the active rulemakings that are currently pending and the expected timetables for making progress on those rules that agencies expect to make over the next 12 months.  Sure enough, time and time again the semiannual regulatory agenda demonstrate that most facets of the regulatory system are moving along at a snail’s pace, the victims of politics, under-funded agencies, and a rulemaking process that favors industry.

By comparing the expected timetables in this regulatory agenda against those from the most recent one in Spring 2015, one can see how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other agencies are falling further and further behind on completing crucial new safeguards.  In some cases, the rules have been the subject of new delays over the past several regulatory agendas.

A review of the regulatory agendas for several agencies (the EPA; the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE/EE); the FDA; and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (DOT/FMCSA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT/NHTSA), Federal Railroad Administration (DOT/FRA), and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (DOT/PHMSA)) uncovered the latest delays in rulemakings, ranging from two months to longer than a year:



Spring 2015

Fall 2015

EPA Modernization of the Accidental Release Prevention Regulations Under Clean Air Act


Proposal 9/2015 Proposal 11/2015


2+ month delay

EPA Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills


Final rule 05/2015 Final rule 07/2016


14 month delay

EPA Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead


Final rule 04/2016 Final rule 06/2016


2 month delay

EPA Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review and New Source Performance Standards


Final rule 07/2015 Final rule 11/2015


4+ month delay

EPA Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); Reassessment of Use Authorizations


Proposal 03/2016 Proposal 06/2016


3 month delay

EPA Trichloroethylene (TCE); Rulemaking Under TSCA Section 6(a)


Proposal 01/2016 Proposal 03/2016


2 month delay

EPA Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products


Final rule 11/2015 Final rule 05/2016


6 month delay


*Statutory deadline for final rule: 01/2013

EPA Nanoscale Materials; Chemical Substances When Manufactured, Imported, or Processed as Nanoscale Materials; Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements


Final rule 06/2016 Final Rule 10/2016


4 month delay

DOE/EE Energy Efficiency Standards for Manufactured Housing


Proposal 05/2015 Proposal 01/2016


8 month delay


*Statutory deadline for final rule: 12/2011

DOE/EE Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Dishwashers


Final rule 10/2015 Final rule 08/2016


10 month delay

DOE/EE Fossil Fuel-Generated Energy Consumption Reduction for New Federal Buildings and Major Renovations of Federal Buildings


Final rule 12/2015 Final rule 03/2016


3 month delay


*Statutory deadline for final rule: 12/2008

DOE/EE Energy Conservation Standards for Fans and Blowers


Final rule 02/2016 Final rule 08/2016


6 month delay

FDA Requirements for the Testing and Reporting of Tobacco Product Constituents, Ingredients, and Additives


Proposal 02/2016 Proposal 07/2016


5 month delay


*Statutory deadline for final rule: 04/2013

FDA Establishment Registration and Product Listing for Tobacco Products


Proposal 03/2016 Proposal 09/2016


6 month delay

FDA Requirements for Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practice


Proposal 02/2016 Proposal 04/2016


2 month delay

FDA Electronic Distribution of Prescribing Information for Human Prescription Drugs Including Biological Products


Final rule 03/2016 Final rule 10/2016


7 month delay

FDA “Tobacco Products” Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

[aka “Deeming rule”]


Final rule 06/2015 Final rule 11/2015


5+ month delay

DOT/FMCSA Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters


Proposal 06/2015 Proposal 11/2015


5+ month delay

DOT/FMCSA Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents (MAP-21) (RRR)


Final rule 09/2015 Final rule 11/2015


2+ month delay


*Statutory deadline for final rule: 10/2013

DOT/NHTSA Mandatory Event Data Recorder Requirements


Final rule 12/2015 Final rule 07/2016


7 month delay

DOT/FRA Passenger Equipment Safety Standards Amendments


Proposal 09/2015 Proposal 02/2016


5 month delay

DOT/FRA Railroad System Safety Program


Final rule 08/2015 Final rule 01/2016


5 month delay


*Statutory deadline for final rule: 10/2012

DOT/PHMSA Pipeline Safety: Gas Transmission


Proposal 08/2015 Proposal 12/2015


4 month delay

DOT/PHMSA Pipeline Safety: Amendments to Parts 192 and 195 to Require Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards


Proposal 09/2015 Proposal 10/2016


13 month delay

Each of these new delays should be of great concern, since they translate into real costs to the public interest.  The costs might be measured in premature deaths, lifelong debilitating injury or illness, and irreversible environmental degradation.  By definition, all of the costs are preventable.  Congress should also be paying close attention to these delays, particularly for those six rules above that are now several years behind their statutory deadlines.  In those cases, these delays represent a failure to abide by Congress’s clear command that those safeguards be put into place by the date specified.

Originally posted here.

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