White House Orders “Regulatory Freeze”
January 31, 2017 •
Last week, President Trump, through the White House Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, issued a memorandum implementing a freeze on federal regulations pending further Administration review. The memorandum directs federal agency/department heads to withhold sending any regulations to the Federal Register for publication until a current administration agency/department head reviews them.
Specifically, regulations sent to the Federal Register but not yet published are to be immediately withdrawn; regulations already published in the Federal Register and which have not taken effect are to be postponed for 60 days (from January 20); and, where the effective date has been delayed to review questions of fact, law, or policy, the agency/department should consider proposing further notice-and-comment rulemaking.
Excluded from the memorandum are regulations subject to statutory or judicial deadline and regulations addressing emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial or national security matters.
The presidential directive indicates that “regulation” means regulatory action and includes any “guidance document” or any other substantive action by an agency including “notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking and notices of proposed rulemaking.” In addition, it includes any agency statement that set forth policy on statutory, regulatory, or technical issues or interpretations of statutes or regulations.
As such, the memorandum applies to final and proposed regulations, guidance, or interpretations of statute or regulations issued by federal agencies. Already, several agencies have withdrawn final rules that meet the criteria above or extended the effective date. These include the following:
- U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Final Rule HM-215N on International Harmonization
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Final Rule Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products (EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0461)
- Effective date extended until March 21, 2017
- U.S. EPA Final Rule for Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act
- Effective Date extended until March 21, 2017
EPA has published a list of 30 regulations that are subject to the “Regulatory Freeze.” Notably absent are rulemakings to implement the newly revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); EPA is moving forward with rule development on these issues.
Please note: this memorandum does not impact or change any obligations to comply with existing regulations nor does it apply to any state regulations.
ACA will continue to provide updates to its membership as the impact of this directive on specific rules becomes clearer.
Contact ACA’s Heidi McAuliffe for more information.