U.S. Senator Mark Pryor today teamed up with a group of bipartisan senators and congressmen to introduce legislation that creates a more sensible and sound rulemaking process.
"We need a 21st Century regulatory system that promotes growth, innovation and job creation. By ensuring all parties have a seat at the table at the beginning of the process, this legislation prevents overly burdensome and drawn-out regulations from interfering with our nation's prosperity," Pryor said.
Pryor said the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 improves the rulemaking process largely by amending the Administrative Procedure Act to place greater emphasis on early engagement between agencies and affected parties subject to expensive rules. In addition, the legislation requires agencies to finalize rules that have the least burdensome cost to the economy. Specifically, the legislation improves the quality of regulations through changes that would:
* Require an agency to consider any reasonable, meaningful alternatives for a new rule, including the potential costs and benefits associated with the rule and alternatives;
* Require an agency to issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for all major and high-impact rules;
* Require an agency to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) or determination of other agency action for all rules;
* Makes greater use of formal hearings for high-impact and some major rules, allowing facts and data to be introduced into the record and an opportunity for cross-examination; and
* Require an agency to adopt the least costly final rule unless the agency can show that an alternative rule's additional benefits outweigh the additional costs.
Pryor said he has heard from business owners and community leaders in Arkansas about the consequences of expensive, burdensome regulations. He believes accountability and common-sense regulations have a place in a society that places a high value on safety and rights; however, sometimes agencies do not consider all alternative solutions and costs before issuing regulations.
"From regulating dust on farms to mandating more reflective street signs, federal agencies have made some major blunders leaving others to deal with the economic consequences. Our bill sets forth a rigorous, evidence-based process so these decisions can be made cheaper, better and faster," Pryor said.
"In my career, I have been both a federal regulatory lawyer and a forest industry chief executive officer. Sadly, one who recently had to close a mill and terminate more than 80 employees because of the threat and risk of compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency's onerous Boiler MACT rules. All we were burning is carbon neutral wood waste," said Aubra Anthony, Jr., President/CEO of Anthony Forest Products Company in El Dorado, Arkansas. "Senator Pryor and Senator Portman are our champions for making federal agencies listen to the affected people on the front end of an expensive rule making process. Otherwise, we will continue to squander millions of dollars of investment and send more hard working victims to the unemployment office for dubious environmental benefits."
Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME) are sponsors of the Senate version of the legislation. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) introduced identical legislation today in the House of Representatives.