2020 Environmental Real Estate IssuesWith an August 11 news release, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced issuance of “Modernizing the Administrative Procedure Act” (APA), a DOJ report on the need for Congress to update and improve the APA.  The release says the report “discusses how the administrative state has developed in ways not foreseen by the APA in 1946, how the APA might be legislatively  improved, and how this Administration’s improvements to agencies’ regulatory processes could inform modernizing the APA.”

DOJ Summit on the APA
The report is based on a summit held on December 6, 2019, where DOJ “brought together leading regulatory practitioners, policymakers, and scholars to discuss how best to reform the APA, which remains largely unchanged since its enactment in 1946.”  That summit produced “many good ideas for modernizing the APA” according to a quote in the release from Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

The release also quotes Paul Ray, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, who stated updating the APA could “make the American administrative system less burdensome, more accountable to the people, and more respectful of the rights of Americans.”

Support for Bipartisan Reform Bill
The report speaks positively of a bill with bipartisan sponsorship, the “Regulatory Accountability Act.”  This bill, introduced in the last session of Congress, would adopt a set of nine reforms unanimously endorsed by the American Bar Association House of Delegates.  The bill would require full disclosure of agency data used in rulemaking, establish minimum comment periods for major rules, and require agencies to adopt procedures to review rules retrospectively.  The bill would also require procedures for cost benefit analysis and create specific procedures for “high impact” and “major” rules.

For a link to the release, which includes a link to the report https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-releases-report-modernizing-administrative-procedure-act