About The IPD
The Interactive Public Docket (IPD) was developed by CRE in response to concerns that the "notice and comment" dockets maintained by federal agencies were: 1) not easily accessible; 2) not interactive, i.e., parties reviewing the dockets could not easily
comment on the views expressed by others.
Another reason that CRE developed the IPD is to make it easier for reviewing parties to invoke the "third party" provisions of the Data Quality Act (DQA). This element of the DQA prohibits federal agencies from relying on information submitted to a docket by a third party, unless the information meets the requirements of the Data Quality Act and the agency and OMB Data Quality guidelines.
CRE's IPD makes it easier for the public and stakeholders to review and comment on the comments submitted to a docket. In a nutshell, an IPD places all the comments submitted on a proposed regulatory action on a single website and allows the public to offer additional analyses and other comments. The IPD also provides links to relevant studies, statutes and other source materials that may be otherwise difficult for stakeholders to obtain. Additional features of the IPD include links to the websites of various stakeholders and other useful links and materials.
The materials and analyses provided on the IPD are expected to provide
stakeholders with important resources that they can use during the development of
their comments on various proceedings. Therefore, in addition to providing access to
and analyses of comments during the post-comment period, the IPD is expected to
improve the quality of the comments submitted to federal agencies. CRE believes that
the IPD will assist agencies in crafting more efficient and effective regulations,
thus improving the quality of the rulemaking process.
The IPD is similar to federal efforts to develop e-dockets with the added capability of allowing the public to submit focused comments on the comments of others, having these comments catalogued in conjunction with the original comments in real time and providing a library of relevant background information to aid public participation.
Given the substantial federal traffic enjoyed by CRE and its affiliated sites, CRE expects comments made on the IPD to be viewed by the federal employees.
CRE supports federal efforts to utilize e-dockets on a government-wide basis but believes comparable efforts must be made to address the expectations of stakeholders when they review such dockets. More specifically, when all the comments in a docket are made available for public review, what additional steps can be taken by the public to use the resultant information?
If agencies allow numerous rounds of additional comments, they would have difficulty in getting rules promulgated in a timely manner. The purpose of CRE IPDs is to assist agencies in the timely promulgation of high quality regulatory decisions.
To obtain the information for addressing key questions dealing with e-dockets, CRE has initiated an IPD on the regulation of marine mammals. This particular topic was chosen for a number of reasons, including: considerable public interest, multi-agency jurisdiction, and complex scientific and modeling issues.
CRE will prepare periodic reports on its experience gained through this initial IPD to the
CIO's of federal agencies.