Clements: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt told the American Farm Bureau Federation he wants to ensure the EPA follows statutes set by Congress. He says the agency must work within its authority, not beyond.
Pruitt: I think when you do rulemaking, whether it’s in clean air or clean water, we have to keep something in mind, that we only have the authority that Congress has given this agency. Sometimes I think rulemaking is considered by some to be super-legislative, or that agencies somehow have discretionary authority that allows them to kind of reimagine their authority in the statutes.
Clements: He says it’s time for the EPA and other agencies to follow the rules when it comes to creating regulations.
Pruitt: You’ve seen agencies across the federal government using, for instance, guidance as a form of rulemaking. Guidance is supposed to do what? It’s supposed to give you guidance in respect to rules that are already in existence. There’s certain requirements that you have to go through when you’re introducing rules and adopting rules. You have to propose a rule, make notice and comment, respond to that notice and comment on the record, finalize that rule. And so what agencies have done unfortunately is bypass that entire process by saying you know what, we’re going to issue some guidance in this area, and it really is a substantive rule.
Clements: By following the rule-making process, Pruitt says it allows federal agencies to work with the people the rule affects.
Pruitt: We don’t have all the answers here, and when agencies pass rules, they need to know how it impacts people in all the states across the country and they need to hear from those people and respond to those folks and say “I hear you, and here’s how we’re going to address that and we think that’s an important point.” That’s what rulemaking should be about.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF