WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) announced they have sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, requesting that the Department suspend any new, non-emergency response-related rulemaking and public comment periods during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Due to the extenuating circumstances of this nationwide pandemic and the President’s recent extension of social distancing guidelines through April 30th, we are requesting that you suspend upcoming public comment periods, indefinitely extend currently open public comment periods, and suspend any new non-emergency regulations so that the public may have a sufficient opportunity to participate in the notice and comment rulemaking process,” wrote the Senators. “State and local governments, business owners, non-profits, and public land and resource users are rightly focusing their attention today on responding to the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19, not agency rulemaking. While the goal of agencies seeking public comment is robust public engagement in rulemaking, the COVID-19 public health crisis has made such participation substantially more difficult. COVID-19 is impacting millions of people in their personal and professional lives, including limiting individuals from fully engaging in the public comment period process.”
Read the Senators’ full letter here.
BACKGROUND: Last week, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and 20 other attorneys general sent a letter calling on the Trump Administration to focus its efforts on the COVID-19 pandemic and freeze most other pending rulemaking activity.
Last week, over 90 environmental organizations requested DOI suspend major policy changes and public comment periods during this global pandemic.