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SEC extends comment period on climate disclosure rules

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The Securities and Exchange Commission extended the comment period Monday for approximately a month on its proposed rules for climate-related disclosures, giving commenters until June 17, 2022 to send in their feedback.

The SEC proposed a long-awaited rule on climate-related disclosures in March. Under the proposal, companies would be required to include information about climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on their business, the results of their operations, or financial condition, and certain climate-related financial statement metrics in a note to their audited financial statements (see story). The SEC initially set the deadline for comments at 60 days after publication on its website, until around May 20. 

Since the proposal was released, however, it has provoked a large amount of interest, with business, environmental and accounting groups, among others, wishing to weigh in with their thoughts, The proposal has also attracted opposition from some lawmakers in Congress, mostly on the Republican side, but also moderate Democrat, Sen. Joe  Manchin of West Virginia (see story). The proposed rule is approximately 500 pages long and contains a great many details, making it difficult to weigh in on the minutiae.

Others have complained that the SEC has issued too many far-reaching proposals lately under its new chairman, Gary Gensler, and not allowing sufficient time to respond to them. In addition to the climate disclosure proposal, the SEC also said Monday that it is reopening the comment periods for recent proposed rules on private fund investor protection and Treasury debt market trading platforms. 

Gary Gensler

Melissa Lyttle/Bloomberg

“Today, the Commission acted to provide the public with additional time to comment on three proposed rulemakings that have drawn significant interest from a wide breadth of investors, issuers, market participants, and other stakeholders,” Gensler said in a statement Monday. “The SEC benefits greatly from hearing from the public on proposed regulatory changes. Commenters with diverse views have noted that they would benefit from additional time to review these three proposals, and I’m pleased that the public will have additional time to provide thoughtful feedback.”

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