“The EPA’s new rule restraining how it creates guidance documents could backfire on businesses that want to trim the use of such informal documents, according to legal scholars and environmentalists.
Such documents are meant to provide insight into how agencies interpret laws or are implementing legal requirements—not actually impose new mandates. Critics of the Trump administration, however, say federal agencies have been more frequently leaning on informal guidance documents to skirt formal notice-and-comment rulemaking.
The final rule requires a public notice and comment process for some guidance, a shift from the old approach in which the EPA could issue guidance essentially without any input from outside groups. In a statement, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler called the rule “perhaps the biggest change in administrative procedures in a generation.””