WHY SHOULD I TAKE THE TIME TO SUBMIT COMMENTS ON A PROPOSED RULE?
The notice and comment process provides you with an opportunity to weigh in on the regulatory and policy choices an agency is making that will affect you and/ or your operations on a daily basis. The notice and comment process imparts “sunshine” and transparency to the development of rules and regulations by the bureaucracy. You have the opportunity to weigh in on the discussion and to help shape the rules that will govern your operations.
DOES THE AGENCY REALLY LISTEN TO AND CONSIDER THE COMMENTS I MAKE?
Yes. Agencies must consider and provide a reasonable justification for choosing one policy choice over another. Each agency, when it publishes a final rule, will also prepare and publish a comment and response document addressing each comment received and providing an explanation as to why the agency took the action that it did or made the decision that it did.
IS THERE A SPECIFIC FORMAT MY COMMENTS MUST FOLLOW IN ORDER TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE AGENCY?
Not necessarily but you will need to clearly identify the notice or proposal that you are submitting comments on. Sometimes an agency issuing a proposed rule will outline a specific format for comments to be submitted in for administrative reasons. When you see such instructions, be sure to follow them.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO SUBMIT MY COMMENTS?
Each notice published by an agency seeking public comment will include a deadline for submissions. Make sure to get your comments in by the deadline because an agency is not obligated to consider comments received after the comment period has closed. Also, be sure to check the postmark date instructions that are included in the Federal Register notice.
HOW DO I SUBMIT MY COMMENTS?
Again, each notice soliciting comment will include information on submitting your comments. The agency should provide a fixed address for submissions by regular mail and most agencies will provide an e-mail address for submission of comments electronically. Many agencies also have an electronic docket where you can find copies of notices issues and a function to submit your comments electronically. Finally, www.regulations.gov
is the federal government-wide eRulemaking portal where you can search for, review and comment on agency proposals.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE COMMENTS I SUBMIT?
Your comments must be considered by the agency developing the proposed rule and the agency must respond to all comments it receives on a particular notice of proposed rulemaking. All comments received and considered by an agency in its decision-making process are retained by the agency and become part of the official administrative record for the rule.