Demand Explanation for Obstruction of U.S. Pollution Rules

Target: Howard A. Shelanski, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)

Goal: Demand an explanation for obstruction of EPA regulations

The EPA plays an important role in protecting the American environment from pollution and other dangers. Unfortunately, important regulations are being dropped from consideration due to obstruction from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the government agency responsible for reviewing and approving new regulatory proposals. Two important, common-sense rules have recently been abandoned due to this obstruction. Despite having a 90-day time limit to review new proposals, OIRA has refused to decide on these rules for years.

The first proposal, submitted in 2010, would have added BPA and other potentially harmful chemicals to the “chemicals of concern” list which would flag them for further study. The second rule, proposed in 2011, would have mandated that companies disclose the chemicals used in their products, and the health and safety studies conducted on those chemicals. Despite the 90-day limit, these rules have been waiting for years. A scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund has commented “The reason OIRA has sat on these rules has never been made public. They have a 90-day deadline and they regularly flaunt it … OIRA’s not playing by the rules.”

Without OIRA approval, the EPA is not even allowed to take public comment on proposed regulations. This means that not only are regulations being prevented from becoming law, they are being prevented from reaching the stage at which citizens, regulators, and other stakeholders can hold an open debate. This is detrimental to both democracy and transparency, and OIRA has given no explanation for the delays. Please sign this petition to demand that OIRA both explain and put an end to the obstruction.


Dear Mr. Shelanski,

Recently, the EPA has decided to withdraw two regulatory proposals from consideration after they were stalled for years by your agency. While I understand that you were not the Administrator of OIRA when these regulations were proposed, the amount of time for which these laws were allowed to stagnate still demands an explanation. This obstruction of EPA regulations is detrimental to democracy and transparency, as it prevents the proposed rule changes from even reaching public debate.

OIRA has a legal obligation to review proposed regulations within 90 days. There is no reason why a proposal should go without a review for more than three years, especially when addressing environmental issues that are often time-sensitive. Please fulfill your duty as a public servant by giving the American people an explanation for why EPA rules were allowed to stall for years, and making a commitment to reviewing proposed regulation in a timely manner to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Bo Eide via Flickr

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375 Signatures

  • Darlene Roepke
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
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  • Ellen McCann
  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
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