The rulemaking function of federal regulatory agencies is typically accomplished today through “e-rulemaking”: that is, through “‘the use of digital technologies in the development and implementation of regulations,’ before or during the informal rulemaking process, i.e., notice-and-comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).” The website www.regulations.gov centralizes much e-rulemaking activity throughout...
Agency Innovations in e-Rulemaking
Project Stages:1. Gather ideas - Completed
2. Select ideas - Completed
3. Council approval - Completed
4. Picking a researcher - Completed
5. Committee consideration - Completed
6. Back to the council - Completed
7. Consideration by the full conference - Completed
8. Implementation - Current
This project examined how agencies use internet-based technologies, particularly their websites, to support rulemaking activities and improve access to e-rulemaking portals. It sought to identify useful innovations and best practices that could be spread to other agencies. The resulting recommendation suggests ways agencies can make rulemaking information, including open dockets, comment policies, and materials from completed rulemakings, more accessible electronically. The recommendation also suggests ways agencies may be able to improve e-rulemaking participation by those who have historically faced barriers to access, including non-English speakers, users of low-bandwidth Internet connections, and individuals with disabilities.
The research report for this project was subsequently published as Cary Coglianese, Enhancing Public Access to Online Rulemaking Information, 2 Mich. J. Envt'l & Admin. L. 1 (2012). The Environmental Law Institute named this article one of "the year's best academic articles that present legal and policy solutions to pressing environmental problems." An abridged version of the article will appear in the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review, a special issue of the Environmental Law Reporter, published in collaboration with the Vanderbily University Law School and the Environmental Law Institute.