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May 07, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson Requests Further Extended Comment Period for Supplemental to EPA Science Rule

(Dallas, TX) – Yesterday, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler regarding the need for a further extension of public comment period for EPA’s supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) to its “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” proposed rule. The Chairwoman previously sent a letter requesting an extension to the original 30-day comment period, which was set to end on April 17. On April 2, the EPA announced they would extend the comment period for an additional 30 days until May 18. 

“I support this initial extension, and I am glad that the Agency understands the need to accommodate the public’s ability to participate in the rulemaking process in light of the widespread disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chairwoman Johnson in the letter. “However, I do not believe a 30-day extension sufficiently accommodates the public in general and the public health community in particular. As EPA itself acknowledges, the impact of the pandemic on the public’s ability to participate in the rulemaking process must be one of the primary factors in determining the length of the comment period for the SNPRM. In your April 2 letter, you described COVID-19 as a “significant health crisis” and noted that President Trump declared a National Emergency due to the crisis on March 13, 2020. You also stated explicitly that the comment period would be extended in response to widespread concerns regarding the impact of the pandemic. Since then, the disruption caused by the pandemic has only intensified and the presidential National Emergency declaration remains in effect. The Agency’s rulemaking cannot proceed as if it exists in a vacuum. It must continually respond to the broader circumstances impacting the country.”

A copy of the full letter can be found here.