EPA Proposes New Rule to Promote Transparency of Guidance Information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed a new rule designed to create uniform guidelines for the development and release of guidance documents. This was done in an effort to help improve the level of transparency in the guidance information the Agency makes available. In this blog post, we take a closer look at this proposed new rule.


The origins of the new rule lie with Executive Order (EO) 13891, "Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents", issued in October of last year. The Order notes that guidance documents are not intended to be a means for implementing new public requirements, but instead should be used for clarifying current requirements. Another key aspect of the Order is that it requires federal government agencies to ensure that their active guidance documents are made available via an online information portal. It is also required to specify that these documents lack the force and effect of law, unless authorized.

The Rule and Its Significance

In addition to facilitating transparency, the new rule is designed to facilitate the management of guidance documents overall. According to the EPA, the rule is geared toward ensuring that its guidance documents are:

  • developed properly and with the necessary level of review
  • made accessible and transparent to the public
  • provided for public participation, particularly in the development of significant guidance documents

In a recent statement from Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator, he commented on the significance of this development, noting “For the first time ever, EPA is proposing a rule that codifies procedures to ensure the public can engage in the development and review of agency guidance”. He further noted it is “a major step toward increasing transparency in EPA processes and ensuring that EPA is not creating new regulatory obligations through guidance”.

Accessing More Information

As EPA guidance information can be an invaluable resource for a wide range of professionals, including chemical safety professionals of all types, the Agency's efforts to promote transparency represent a significant development. More information regarding the newly proposed rule may be found on the EPA website as it becomes available. Additionally, you can visit the ToxPlanet website and blog regularly for information on new developments. Also, be sure to contact us and register for a Free Trial to learn how our robust suite of solutions can help address your chemical hazard information needs.