Clements: A bill that would make critical reforms to the rulemaking process is scheduled to be considered by a Senate committee possibly as early as next week. The Regulatory Accountability Act is an amendment to the Administrative Procedure Act, the blueprint for how federal regulations are proposed and promulgated. The law has not been updated since 1946. American Farm Bureau Federation environment and energy policy director Paul Schlegel says the amendment would ensure a fairer process for future regulations.
Schlegel: This would be an effort to make the rulemaking process a little bit more transparent, require the agencies to take more into account the impact of cost and benefits when they regulate, give stakeholders and the regulated community a mandated minimum 60 day comment period, and when agencies interpret their regulations, it would not automatically have the courts give them deference.
Clements: He says the bill offers a standard process for federal agencies to follow when making new regulations.
Schlegel: People ought to believe in the process, they ought to believe it’s fair and transparent. Nobody is guaranteed an outcome, but when you have a process people can believe in, the result is far more willing to be accepted by the people that are affected by it. In the legislation, there are things that presidents of both parties over the last three or four decades have said ought to be adhered to. So, that’s why we feel it’s important, and the bill deserves support.
Clements: The bill is expected to appear for mark-up in the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee soon. Schlegel says farmers and ranchers need to make their voices heard.
Schlegel: They ought to contact their senators, especially those who might be on the committee, urging them to support the legislation and vote for it when it comes up. Rules are important, and this legislation helps makes sure the rules are fair, that’s why it’s important.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF