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 public input into the determination of the contents of a docket for a regulatory proceeding and access to to such content is very limited. Presently the regulators are the sole determinant of what papers used in the pre-Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) stage goes into the docket; the 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, for example , the 60 to 90 day time period alloted for public comment out of a time period of several or more years needed 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. The public can not 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; an IPD is a repository of new information as it is generated during the lengthy post-NPRM stage of the rulemaking process. A credible IPD also assists federal agencies in their review of volumes of material since all such entries are subject to peer review by parties with competing interests.
The consideration and ultimate acceptance of the material on an IPD by federal regulators and their regulatory overseers depends in large part on the recognized regulatory expertise and federal credentials of the managers of the organization which hosts the IPD.
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 article.