Potential Delay of SEC Climate Disclosures Rule Due to Reopening of Comments Period to Address Technical Issue
Last Friday, the SEC re-opened the comment period on its climate disclosures rule--"The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors"--for a period of "14 days following publication of the reopening release in the Federal Register." The SEC is re-opening the comment period because of a "technological error that resulted in a number of public comments submitted through the Commission’s internet comment form not being received by the Commission." (The SEC noted that a "majority of the affected comments were submitted in August 2022," after the June 17, 2022 closure of the comment period for the climate disclosures rule, so it appears unlikely that there will be a substantial number of new or re-submitted comments.)
This re-opening of the comment period will likely delay the publication of the final climate disclosures rule for several weeks, if not more. Not only will there be an initial delay due to the re-opening of the comment period itself, but the SEC will also need to review and process any additional comments. There will thus be a longer period of uncertainty for corporate America as to the actual contents of the climate disclosures rule--particularly if there were any significant changes from the previously published draft rule. This delay may also impact other climate initiatives by the Biden Administration that were intended to proceed in parallel with the SEC rulemaking.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today reopened the public comment periods for 11 Commission rulemaking releases and one request for comment due to a technological error that resulted in a number of public comments submitted through the Commission’s internet comment form not being received by the Commission.