WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy today congratulated the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water and the Office of Management and Budget for exemplary work in implementing the requirements of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) with respect to a new rule on effluents. SBREFA strengthens Regulatory Flexibility Act requirements that agencies carefully review their proposed regulations for their effects on small firms and, where possible, mitigate disproportionately burdensome requirements.
The rulemaking, Effluent Guidelines and Limitations for Industrial Laundries, was the first Office of Water proposal subject to the requirements of SBREFA. "I am pleased that the SBREFA panel, which consisted of representatives from the OMB Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, and the EPA, played an integral role in the formulation of this proposal," said Chief Counsel for Advocacy Jere W. Glover. "The panel process provided an important opportunity for small businesses to offer substantive comments to the federal panel and EPA project managers who developed the regulations before the rule was published."
With the advice the small business representatives and owners provided to the panel, the EPA was able to propose a small business exemption that eliminated 8 percent of the affected businesses from coverage under the regulation, without an adverse effect to the environment. In a departure from business as usual, EPA described in detail the factual and legal foundations for alternative small business exemptions. "This shows that the process is working," said Glover. "The full and frank discussion allows the public to provide more informed comments and should lead to a better regulation."
The agency also agreed to perform additional economic analyses using different assumptions, to analyze further the effects of the rule, which is now available for public comment. The Office of Advocacy will be working with the EPA and OMB in drafting the final regulation. For more technical information, contact Kevin Bromberg at 205-6964.