Administration Releases New Regulatory, Enforcement Directives

(October 16, 2019) – The White House released two new administrative orders last week that seek to provide the regulated community with more predictability related to federal agency regulatory guidance documents and enforcement actions. 

The first document, entitled Executive Order on Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents, sets out specific requirements for federal agencies to follow when developing and issuing guidance documents.  Among the new procedures agencies must follow is to rescind guidance documents that are never finalized or should no longer be in effect.  EPA has recently completed a very similar process.  The order also notes that every agency must develop a formal process for issuing guidance documents, which could be helpful as it relates to EPA given the Agency’s often haphazard process for publishing guidance. 

The second document, entitled Executive Order on Promoting the Rule of Law Through Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement and Adjudication, seeks to ensure all federal agencies promote fairness and transparency during administrative enforcement or adjudication actions.  The order also emphasizes the need for greater cooperation with regulated entities on enforcement issues where appropriate, which is beneficial for utilities that may engage with EPA or other federal agencies on administrative enforcement issues.   

Members with any questions can contact Nathan Gardner-Andrews, NACWA’s Chief Advocacy Officer.