President Joe Biden is slowing down the regulatory process in order to give his new executive team time to review pending or recently issued Trump administration rules. He also issued an executive order requiring review of a wide range of health and environmental regulations.
In a memo issued Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain directed the heads of executive departments and agencies not to propose or issue any rules “until a department or agency head appointed or designated by the president” has had a chance to review and approve it.
For rules published in the Federal Register but which have not taken effect, agency heads were directed to “consider postponing the rules' effective dates for 60 days.”
“For rules postponed in this manner, during the 60-day period, where appropriate and consistent with applicable law,” Klain said, “consider opening a 30-day comment period to allow interested parties to provide comments about issues of fact, law, and policy raised by those rules, and consider pending petitions for reconsideration involving such rules.”
Those rules can be further delayed beyond 60 days if they “raise substantial questions of fact, law, or policy,” the memo says. In those cases, “Agencies should notify the OMB Director and take further appropriate action in consultation with the OMB Director.”
Separately, Biden signed an executive order directing the review of dozens of health and environmental actions, including an Environmental Protection Agency rule on Application Exclusion Zones whose purpose is to protect people who are near pesticide applications.
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That rule, scheduled to go into effect in late December, was blocked last month by a temporary restraining order issued by a federal court in New York. On Tuesday, EPA agreed in a stipulation to delay the rule’s effective date for 30 days.
Other rules to be reviewed, according to a fact sheet from the new administration: the Trump administration's Navigable Waters Protection Rule defining the scope of "waters of the U.S." under the Clean Water Act; a new rule overhauling regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act; the "secret science" (as referred to by critics) or "science transparency" rule (for supporters); and EPA's denial of a petition seeking to ban chlorpyrifos.
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