Monday May 25, 2020
CPSC Will Follow New Deregulation Executive Order
CPSC will follow a new executive order on regulations. "We read the executive order as applying to CPSC, and we are taking steps to implement it," agency spokesman Joe Martyak told PSL in response to a question related to independent agencies not being mentioned in the May 19 directive.
The executive order tells agencies to aid the post-pandemic U.S. economy "by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery."
The new order is at bit.ly/2TnOp0e. It does include the limitation that deregulation decisions must be "consistent with applicable law and with protection of the public health and safety." Such considerations are typically the crux of how CPSC looks at compliance with executive orders.
One possibly ripe area is the following language:
"[Agencies] should also give businesses, especially small businesses, the confidence they need to re-open by providing guidance on what the law requires; by recognizing the efforts of businesses to comply with often-complex regulations in complicated and swiftly changing circumstances; and by committing to fairness in administrative enforcement and adjudication."
CPSC sometimes has exerted its independent agency status with such deregulatory orders. It did so in early 2017 related to an order that instructed agencies to kill two old regulations for each new one (PSL, 2/6/17) and another setting a rulemaking freeze (PSL, 1/30/17).
However, even if not explicitly covered, CPSC can follow them voluntarily. For example, in 2011 (PSL, 1/21/11), then-Commissioner Nancy Nord urged following the spirit of an order on cost-benefit and burden reduction reviews of regulations. That order later got an update to explicitly include CPSC and other independent agencies (PSL, 7/15/11).
Relatedly, CPSC has had numerous burden-relief projects underway for years. This includes a just-adopted rule deeming seven manufactured fibers not to exceed the regulatory limits set for eight phthalates and eight heavy metals (PSL, 5/11/20). This affects testing of toys and children's products.
Agency staffers also recently updated commissioners on 14 projects, some already enacted, some still being worked on, and some rejected (PSL, 5/11/20).
This month, (PSL, 5/18/20) companies that test packaging for PPPA compliance said they would seek temporary easing of protocols under that law due to COVID-19 hurdles. That situation involves problems like decreased or limited access to sites for children or seniors and disease prevention policies that interfere with PPPA test protocols.
At a hearing last fall on CPSC's FY2020 operating plan, GOP commissioners indicated alignment with then-recent executive orders meant to limit the force of guidance documents (PSL, 10/21/19). CPSC has a 2-2 party split now.