A collection of industry and environmental organizations are urging federal and California agencies to extend or postpone public comment deadlines on a variety of complex environmental regulations. Over 100 environmental groups and even the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) called on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to extend public comment deadlines on pending regulations, arguing that it is inappropriate for an agency to rush through a rulemaking and only give the public 30 days to weigh in on complex environmental proposals. The message from these groups: put a “pin” in regulations that can be easily picked up after the Country has successfully overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary of CalEPA, urged EPA to consider further extensions of the rulemaking process:
The State of California has been a leader in attempting to proactively contain the coronavirus. Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency on March 4, 2020. Many local jurisdictions in California – including Sacramento, where CalEPA’s headquarters is located – have issued “stay at home” orders. Like other state agencies, CalEPA is working hard to reduce the risk of further contagion while continuing to provide our essential services to the public. But these circumstances do limit the ability of CalEPA to fully comment on a complex US EPA rulemaking in only 30 days.