Fall 2015 Regulatory Agenda is Out; Clock is Ticking

by James Goodwin

November 20, 2015

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:

Agency

Rule

Spring 2015

Fall 2015

EPA

Modernization of the Accidental Release Prevention Regulations Under Clean Air Act

(2050-AG82)

Proposal 9/2015

Proposal 11/2015

 

2+ month delay

EPA

Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

(2060-AM08)

Final rule 05/2015

Final rule 07/2016

 

14 month delay

EPA

Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead

(2060-AQ44)

Final rule 04/2016

Final rule 06/2016

 

2 month delay

EPA

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

(2060-AQ75)

Final rule 07/2015

Final rule 11/2015

 

4+ month delay

EPA

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); Reassessment of Use Authorizations

(2070-AJ38)

Proposal 03/2016

Proposal 06/2016

 

3 month delay

EPA

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

(2070-AK03)

Proposal 01/2016

Proposal 03/2016

 

2 month delay

EPA

Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products

(2070-AJ44)

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

(2070-AJ54)

Final rule 06/2016

Final Rule 10/2016

 

4 month delay

DOE/EE

Energy Efficiency Standards for Manufactured Housing

(1904-AC11)

Proposal 05/2015

Proposal 01/2016

 

8 month delay

 

*Statutory deadline for final rule: 12/2011

DOE/EE

Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Dishwashers

(1904-AD24)

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

(1904-AB96)

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

(1904-AC55)

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

(0910-AG59)

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

(0910-AG89)

Proposal 03/2016

Proposal 09/2016

 

6 month delay

FDA

Requirements for Tobacco Product Manufacturing Practice

(0910-AH22)

Proposal 02/2016

Proposal 04/2016

 

2 month delay

FDA

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

(0910-AG18)

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”]

(0910-AG38)

Final rule 06/2015

Final rule 11/2015

 

5+ month delay

DOT/FMCSA

Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters

(2126-AB63)

Proposal 06/2015

Proposal 11/2015

 

5+ month delay

DOT/FMCSA

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

(2126-AB20)

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

(2127-AK86)

Final rule 12/2015

Final rule 07/2016

 

7 month delay

DOT/FRA

Passenger Equipment Safety Standards Amendments

(2130-AC46)

Proposal 09/2015

Proposal 02/2016

 

5 month delay

DOT/FRA

Railroad System Safety Program

(2130-AC31)

Final rule 08/2015

Final rule 01/2016

 

5 month delay

 

*Statutory deadline for final rule: 10/2012

DOT/PHMSA

Pipeline Safety: Gas Transmission

(2137-AE72)

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

(2137-AF06)

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.

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Also from James Goodwin

James Goodwin, J.D., M.P.P., is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Center for Progressive Reform. He joined CPR in May of 2008.

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