How to Improve Retrospective Review of Regulations: EPA Launches a Consultation


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting public input on the agency’s periodic retrospective review of its regulations. Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” and Executive Order 13610, “Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens,” call on all federal agencies to conduct a retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.

In August 2011 the agency issued its Final Plan for Periodic Retrospective Reviews of Existing Regulations. This Plan was developed after extensive public outreach that sought input on an agency plan for retrospective review, as well as on possible reforms to modify, streamline, expand or repeal existing regulations. Since 2011, the EPA has maintained an open comment docket for public feedback on the existing Plan for Periodic Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations and the subsequent progress reports.

To date, the EPA has completed 21 of our original 35 retrospective reviews. Five new reviews were added in July 2014.

The EPA views the review process as an ongoing exercise and is seeking further public input to ensure its regulations continue to maximize net social benefit. The focus of this new request for input is on how the agency can promote regulatory modernization through business-process streamlining facilitated by improved technology.

The agency specifically solicits comments on the following questions:

  • Which regulations, including economically significant rules, could be transitioned from paper to electronic reporting?
  • How can the EPA reduce duplicative reporting requirements in existing regulations that may overlap other federal requirements?
  • How can the EPA streamline or consolidate reporting requirements to reduce burden?
  • Which regulations could benefit from the use of existing shared services or new shared services?
  • Should the EPA create a joint registry of regulated facilities with states and tribes to streamline electronic reporting to multiple programs and maximize burden reduction?
  • Which regulations could be amended to reduce the frequency of reporting while maintaining effective programs?
  • Is the same information being collected in multiple places, either across different regulations, or across different levels of government (Federal, State, and local)?

Additionally, the EPA published a notice on January 26, 2015 seeking comment on the development of an online portal to serve as a consolidated entry point for providing information, tools and streamlined interactions with the EPA by the public and regulated entities. Commenters may wish to review this notice and consider how such a portal could be used while considering regulations that the EPA should include in its review.

The EPA is accepting comments to be submitted here until April 8, 2015

The history of the EPA’s Retrospective Review Plan is available here.

(Fabrizio Di Mascio)

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