The Sixty Day Notice and Comment Period Allowed by the Administrative Procedure Act is Obsolete

After the end of the public comment period up through the publication of a final rule, the government has a monopoly over the regulatory process. In essence the public, including the regulated community, is shut out of the process.

The same problem occurs after a rule is promulgated and the agency goes into program implementation; in this instance the agency makes numerous decisions which could not have been envisioned at the time of the NPRM.

In our wired society, the generation of information on a regulatory issue does not cease at the end of a public comment period. In essence, the sixty day notice and comment period in the Administrative Procedure Act is obsolete; notice and comment is now a 24/7 endeavor.

To address these issues, CRE has developed an Interactive Public Docket.(IPD) which is accessible at

The IPD has several components:

1. Commenting on Comments Made During the NPRM

The IPD contains the major submissions made to an agency during the public comment period. The IPD is so designed that a reader can comment on any of the comments simply by clicking on the “comment ” link. In addition to comments, the site is equipped with state of the art technology which will permit the reader to attach large supporting studies to their comments.

2.Discussion Forum

The IPD is equipped with a Discussion Forum. In the upper right hand column of the IPD any member of the public can post a statement and augment it by attaching detailed studies.

3. News

In the upper right hand column of the IPD, any member of the public can submit comments dealing with up to date occurrences relevant to the regulatory topic being covered by the IPD.

4. General email

In the upper right hand column of the IPD is a link which allows a member of the public to send a comment to CRE without posting it on the IPD.

The basic thrust of the IPD is to make data relevant to a given regulatory proceeding available to the public on a continuous basis and to provide the public with the capability to comment on a proceeding on a continuous basis.

CRE is not suggesting that the Federal government undertake IPD’s . Instead, CRE is recommending that the Federal government make the appropriate institutional arrangements so that an IPD can be entered into a rulemaking. Furthermore, CRE  is not recommending that the government eliminate a fixed period, say sixty to ninety days, for public comment. However,  it is reccommeded that federal  regulators announce that they will examine the contents of  IPD’s, and when appropriate, introduce elements thereof  into the  record for a particular rulemaking.

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