(a) In the Special Review process, to assure openness and responsiveness, no person or party outside of government will be afforded special or preferential access to Agency Special Review decisionmakers or to the Agency's Special Review process. At the same time, however, Agency personnel are free to meet and otherwise communicate with persons or parties outside of government, including registrants and manufacturers, users, trade unions, environmental groups and other interested persons, to obtain information, exchange views, explore factual and substantive positions, or discuss regulatory options concerning Special Review decisions.
(b) Meetings between EPA and any person or party outside of government will not result in undue delay in reaching Special Review decisions. During such meetings, the Agency will not commit to take any particular action concerning a pending decision. The Agency may receive and consider information and recommendations from persons or parties outside of government; however, the Agency will make the final administrative decision on a wholly independent basis and in accordance with law.
(c) Any interested person may ask to meet with Agency officials to discuss factual information available to the Agency, to present any factual information, to respond to presentations by other persons, or to discuss what regulatory actions should be taken regarding a pesticide which is or may be the subject of a Special Review. If, at its discretion, the Agency holds such meetings with any person outside of government concerning a use of a pesticide product, the Agency will prepare and file in the docket a memorandum of such meeting, meeting the requirements specified in § 154.15(b)(7).
(d) Meetings described in this section may include meetings held after issuance of a Notice of Special Review with any registrant who proposes to change voluntarily the composition, packaging, and labeling, or other terms and conditions of registration of his pesticide product in a way which he believes would reduce the risks of use of the product so that it would no longer meet or exceed the risk criteria of § 154.7. Meetings for this purpose will be most helpful and productive for both registrants and the Agency if they are requested by registrants shortly after the issuance of the Notice of Special Review.
(e) If the Agency meets with any person or party outside of government concerning a pending Special Review decision, the Agency will not issue a final Special Review decision until 30 days after inclusion of a memorandum concerning that meeting in the public docket. During those 30 days, any person or party may submit written comments to the Agency regarding the subject matter of the meeting in question. The Agency may issue a final Special Review decision without allowing this 30-day period if expedited action is necessary to protect public health or the environment, or if the Agency has invited other parties with potentially opposing viewpoints to the meeting in question (e.g., registrants, users, labor, and environmental groups).