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About Reg DaRRT
The Regulatory Development and Retrospective Review Tracker (Reg DaRRT) provides information to the public on the status of EPA's priority rulemakings and retrospective reviews of existing regulations. Reg DaRRT includes rulemakings that have not yet been proposed, those that are open for public comment, those for which EPA is working on a final rule, and those that have been recently finalized. In addition, Reg DaRRT includes retrospective reviews of rules that have already been finalized and are undergoing a review to determine if the rules should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.
- What is a “rulemaking,” and how does it differ from a “rule” or a “regulation”?
- What qualifies as a "priority rulemaking"?
- When does a priority rulemaking first appear on Reg DaRRT?
- Does a priority rulemaking ever disappear from Reg DaRRT?
- How can I participate in rulemakings I find on Reg DaRRT?
- What does each phase mean?
- What is "regulatory review"?
About retrospective reviews
- What is a "retrospective review"?
- How can I participate in a retrospective review I find on Reg DaRRT?
About Reg DaRRT
This website uses the term “rulemaking” to mean a rule or regulation that is under development. In other words, the final version of the rule has not yet been issued. “Rule” and “regulation” are used interchangeably. They may refer to a rule under development, as in the phrase “Proposed Rule,” or they may refer to a rule that has been completed, as in the phrase “Final Rule.”
EPA has a process by which our regulatory managers determine the priority level of a rulemaking based on factors including:
- Environmental significance
- Impact on the economy
- Level of external interest
- Significance of policy or scientific issues
- Effect on other Agency programs
If the regulatory managers determine that a rulemaking is a priority, it is generally posted on Reg DaRRT.
Some priority rulemakings are also published once a year in EPA's Regulatory Plan, but the priorities in the Plan are not as comprehensive as the priorities on Reg DaRRT. That is because the Plan focuses on those regulations we reasonably expect to issue in proposed or final form during the upcoming fiscal year; whereas, Reg DaRRT presents information on priority rules that are under development regardless of anticipated publication dates.
A priority rulemaking first appears on Reg DaRRT after EPA's Regulatory Policy Officer (RPO) decides it is appropriate to start working on the regulation via a process known as "commencement approval." Commencement approval occurs once a month. If a priority rulemaking receives the RPO's approval, it is posted on this website. A rulemaking may appear on this website months or even years before a docket is opened on Regulations.gov.
No, but less information is presented about a rule once it is finalized. For one year after a Final Rule is published in the Federal Register, Reg DaRRT provides basic information about the rule and a way to access the rule itself for more information. Beyond the one year mark, rules are listed on our Archive page.
Phase 1: Pre-Proposal - Rulemakings in the Pre-Proposal phase are ones that have not yet published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register. Rulemakings appear in this phase once EPA's Regulatory Policy Officer approves commencement. A rule might remain in the Pre-Proposal phase for months or even years while scientists, economists, other researchers, and managers deliberate on regulatory options. When OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Policy (OIRA) determines that an NPRM is a "significant" regulatory action, OMB conducts regulatory review before the NPRM is published. Once an NPRM is published in the Federal Register, a rulemaking will move from phase 1 to phase 2.
Phase 2: Proposal - Rulemakings enter the Proposal phase when an NPRM for the rulemaking is published in the Federal Register. They remain in this phase until a Final Rule is published, which can sometimes be months or even years after publication of the NPRM. When OIRA determines that a Final Rule is a "significant" regulatory action, OMB conducts regulatory review before the Final Rule is published.
Phase 3: Final Rule Published - Rulemakings enter the Final Rule Published phase when a Final Rule is published in the Federal Register. A rule remains in this phase for one year after the Final Rule's publication date, after which it is added to our Archive page. It is important that you reference the Final Rule itself to understand its regulatory requirements.
End of Development - Generally, a rulemaking concludes when the Final Rule is published in the Federal Register, after which the rule is codified into law in the Code of Federal Regulations. EPA offers a number of ways for regulated communities to learn how to comply with the new rule. You can learn about them on EPA's Compliance page.
Executive Order 12866 describes a process whereby OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Policy (OIRA) reviews some EPA rules. At the same time, OIRA may coordinate review by other federal agencies. OIRA decides which rules will undergo regulatory review and which rules will not. Sometimes, OIRA will choose to review one stage of a rule but not another stage. For example, a rulemaking's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking might undergo review, but later on, the Final Rule will not undergo review.
About retrospective reviews
A retrospective review is an opportunity to look back at an existing regulation and if any requirements are “outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned,” per Executive Order 13563 (3 pp, 56K, About PDF). In addition to retrospective review requirements in EO 13563, many statutes require EPA to conduct retrospective reviews. For example, under the Clean Air Act, EPA must review New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), which are technology based standards that apply to specific categories of stationary sources, such as dry cleaning facilities, petroleum refineries, and tire manufacturing facilities. Section 7411(b)(1)(B) of the Clean Air Act states: “at least every 8 years, review and, if appropriate, revise such standards following the procedure required by this subsection for promulgation of such standards.” (Read Section 7411(b)(1)(B) here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2009-title42/pdf/USCODE-2009-title42-chap85-subchapI-partA-sec7411.pdf (6 pp, 138kb, About PDF)).
EPA has a long history of thoughtfully examining our existing regulations to make sure they are effectively and efficiently meeting the needs of the American people. Both statutory and judicial obligations have compelled some of our reviews. Others arise from independent EPA decisions to improve upon existing regulations. In fact, of EPA’s current regulatory workload, almost two-thirds of our activity is a review of an existing regulation. The retrospective reviews presented on Reg DaRRT at this time are part of a retrospective review plan that was developed in summer 2011 per EO 13563. (Learn more about the plan on our Retrospective Reviews page.) Over time, we hope to add more information about other retrospective reviews.
A retrospective review may yield a new regulation, because EPA must issue a new regulation to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal an old one. Just like any other regulation, regulations resulting from retrospective reviews should be open for public comment when the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Other opportunities for public participation also may arise, such as workshops or other comment periods, but at a minimum, you should have the opportunity to comment on an NPRM.
About Reg DaRRT
Please use the Contact Us form to offer your suggestions.
Regulations.gov is EPA's online docketing and commenting system, just as it is for nearly 300 federal agencies. Reg DaRRT sends visitors to Regulations.gov to submit comments on any rulemaking that is open for comment. Reg DaRRT also sends visitors to Regulations.gov to read a Proposed Rule or a Final Rule or any other document published in the Federal Register and/or housed in an EPA docket.