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  • Allison Stalker

EPA Releases Regulation Review Plan

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

On January 18, 2011, the Obama administration issued Executive Order 13563 entitled “Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review”. As part of this order, all federal agencies are required to review existing regulations and modify them to create a more effective and less burdensome regulatory program. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one agency required to adhere to the specifications in this order.


The EPA released a preliminary plan on May 24, 2011 which outlines a strategy to review environmental regulations and determine if modification, expansion, or repeal is necessary. More specifically, the EPA initially plans to perform 31 regulatory reviews over a range of issues and programs. During these reviews, the plan states that the EPA will seek ways to advance electronic reporting, improve transparency, advance innovative compliance approaches, and advance systems approaches and integrated problem-solving. One goal of the Executive Order was to reduce regulatory overlap and contradiction, an objective the EPA shares. This preliminary release outlined the first 16 early actions, some of which are discussed below.


National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): coordinating permit requirements and removing outdated requirements


One of the first 16 actions involves the NPDES wastewater permits required by any facility that discharges pollutants to any water in the United States. The purpose of this review is to indentify any provisions that are outdated, inconsistent, or ineffective. This action aims to improve transparency and public access to information.

Multiple air pollutants: coordinating emission reduction regulations and using innovative technologies


The EPA is also looking to create ways to reduce emissions of multiple pollutants through technologies and practices that achieve multiple benefits. This action has a focus on the pulp and paper industry by reviewing New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) together with Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT).


New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) reviews and revisions: setting priorities to ensure updates to outdated technologies


The EPA will conduct its required review of NSPS with an emphasis on opportunities for meaningful improvements in air quality and public health. An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is expected to be issued in the summer of 2011 which outlines an approach to consider if an NSPS requires a review.


The preliminary plan also lists the additional 15 longer term actions which include water quality standards, Title V permit programs, chemical and pesticide exports, and drinking water regulations. The EPA closed its comment period on the preliminary plan on June 27, 2011.

To download the entire preliminary plan, click here.


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