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Regulatory Negotiations: A Practical Perspective

October 1992

Citation: ELR 10647

Author: Ellen Siegler

You have just received a telephone call from an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official asking whether your company or trade association is interested in participating in a regulatory negotiation to develop a new or amended regulation that the Agency will issue under an environmental statute. Or your client asks your advice on whether to participate. What will you say? It is increasingly likely that you may receive such a call.

Regulatory negotiation (reg-neg) is a process that developed years ago but has been slow to gain acceptance. Reg-neg is a negotiation in which representatives of a governmental agency and representatives of various interests affected by a regulatory initiative attempt to develop the initiative together in an open forum. In less objective terms, reg-neg may be viewed as one of the following: (1) a process by which representatives of different points of view try to reach a balanced resolution of complex regulatory matters; (2) a process in which a group of people, most of whom do not talk to each other routinely, engage in a seemingly endless effort to wear each other down to achieve self-interests of their constituents; or (3) a messy, time-consuming process that can produce an outcome that all interests can live with.

Ellen Siegler is a Senior Attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the American Petroleum Institute. Ms. Siegler was one of API's representatives in the reg-neg developing Clean Air Act regulations to reduce equipment leaks from chemical processes. The author thanks Dr. Janet Meyer and Ms. Deborah Dalton of the Environmental Protection Agency for providing EPA's perspective on issues discussed in this Dialogue. The views expressed in this Dialogue are solely those of the author. They are not necessarily shared by API, its members, or any other person.

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