Public Citizen Launches New Website Tracking Regulatory Delays

Public Citizen has unveiled a new interactive website that shines a spotlight on the problem of regulatory delay at the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

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From air pollution standards to worker safety protections to food safety rules, all significant regulations proposed by federal agencies must be reviewed by OIRA before they can be implemented.

Executive Order 12,866, signed by President Bill Clinton and reaffirmed by President Barack Obama, directs OIRA to spend no more than 90 days reviewing a rule drafted by an agency, with the possibility for a single 30-day extension. But dozens of rules have lingered at OIRA for longer than 90 or even 120 days.

“Chronic delays have become a persistent and unfortunate feature of the OIRA review process,” said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “These delays cost lives, undermine public health and safety, harm our environment and make our economy less secure.”

The new website,, lists all proposed rules currently delayed at OIRA, highlights the length of these delays and the legal deadlines for finalization of key rules, depicts the total number of rules that have been changed or withdrawn from consideration, shows the influence that industry lobbyists wield over rules under review at the agency, and describes the human and economic costs of regulatory delay.

The data is drawn from OIRA’s own records and is updated daily.

According to the website:

Between 90 and 100 proposed rules are under review at OIRA in a typical week.

Of these, nine have been delayed between 90 and 120 days, and 23 have been delayed more than 120 days, defying the executive order calling for speedy review.

The missed deadlines add up to more than 5,000 days of delay.

Rules addressing child nutrition, oil pipeline hazards and discrimination against people with disabilities are among those experiencing the greatest delays.

Regulatory delays have a high price, according to Public Citizen.

Recent regulatory delays at OIRA that exceeded the statutory limit cost no less than $12 billion overall. Faster rulemaking could have saved thousands of lives, prevented thousands of injuries and kept millions of Americans from getting sick.

In 2014, 33 proposed rules were approved without changes, and 24 rules were withdrawn by the agencies from which they originated because OIRA would not approve them.

In 2014, OIRA revised 388 proposed rules. That’s a significant and welcome decrease from 2012, when the agency revised 637 rules.

“There has been genuine progress at OIRA in reducing the unprecedented and systemic delays that occurred only a few years ago,” said Narang.

“ will serve as an important accountability measure to ensure that the OIRA review process is working efficiently to protect the public.”

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