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What is an IPD?

An IPD is an Interactive Public Docket.. The purpose of an IPD is to break the government’s monopoly over what is contained in a regulatory docket.

More specifically, the docket for a regulatory proceeding and access to it by the public is very limited. Presently the regulators are the sole determinant of what papers go into the docket before an NPRM is issued; regulators are also the sole determinant of what papers go into the docket subsequent to the close of the public comment period. The public can only affect the content of the docket in a limited time period of say the 60 to 90 day public comment period out of one or more years need to complete a rulemaking.

The IPD changes this dynamic by having an online docket which is available for public input on a 24/7 basis during the pre-rule, NPRM, post NPRM and post final rule stages of a rulemaking.  The public cannot only add material at any date but it can also comment on comments made by others.

Regulatory agencies are permitted to upload material from an IPD and insert it into the docket.

Why then would federal agencies view IPD’s? Agencies review IPD’s because they are often the best source of new information generated subsequent to the close of the public comment period, particularly those NPRM’s that are science-based and for which members of the public comment on the comments of others.

CRE rules of engagement for an IPD include:

–    Dissenting views from those of the sponsor must be posted.

–    No adverse statements against a federal employee are permitted

–   Editorial control is exercised over obscene or profane statements

–   The IPD must be highly interactive which allows comments to be made in an easy fashion and made anonymously if the author so desires.

In keeping with the aforementioned rules of engagement it should be noted that some NGO’s have a different view of the merits of an IPD. CRE recommends that its readers read the views of a leading law professor on the aforementioned views of the NGO, which are contained at the end of the post.

This Forum is managed by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE), a regulatory watchdog founded and managed by former officials of the regulatory review office (OIRA) of the White House Office of Management and Budget. CRE manages a number of websites dedicated to increasing the transparency of the regulatory process, including TheOMB.US, a website focused on OMB’s role in centralized regulatory review beginning with the Johnson Administration and updated constantly to reflect the actions of the current Administration.

CRE personnel through years of government service have made notable contributions to the formation and operation of OIRA. In order that OIRA remains a viable and effective institution it must have access to timely information as it discharges its role of “regulating the regulators.