Notice of proposed rulemaking

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A notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) is a public notice issued by law when one of the independent agencies of the United States government wishes to add, remove, or change a rule or regulation as part of the rulemaking process. It is an important part of United States administrative law which facilitates government by typically creating a process of taking of public comment. This nomenclature is also utilized at the state level.[1]

Outside the United States[edit]

The term is also used outside the United States for a document giving public notice of a proposed rule change and inviting informed comment on it. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) publish notices of proposed rulemaking when seeking public comment.

In the United States[edit]

NPRM procedure is required and defined by the Administrative Procedure Act. The Constitution does not require NPRM. Rather, Congress created the requirement to enlighten agencies — that is, to force them to listen to comments and concerns of people whom the regulation will likely affect. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are examples of agencies subject to these procedures.

The NPRM is published in the Federal Register and typically gives 60 days for public comment from any interested party, and an additional 30 days for reply comments. Original comments may still be filed in the reply comments window. While this is the normal method of agency rulemaking, emergency rulemaking is allowed to bypass the NPRM process. A notice is not required to be published in the Federal Register if all persons subject to it are named and are personally served with a copy of it.

Each notice, whether published in the Federal Register or personally served, includes:

  1. A statement of the time, place, and nature of the proposed rulemaking proceeding;
  2. A reference to the authority under which it is issued;
  3. A description of the subjects and issues involved or the substance and terms of the proposed regulation;
  4. A statement of the time within which written comments must be submitted; and
  5. A statement of how and to what extent interested persons may participate in the proceeding.

NPRMs are often preceded by a notice of inquiry (NOI), where comments are invited but no rules have yet been proposed. Comments received in this period allow the agency to better prepare the NPRM by making more-informed decisions on proposals. An NPRM may be followed by a further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM), if the comments from the initial NPRM drastically change the proposal to the point where further comment is required. Rules are finalized when a report and order (R&O) is issued, which may be amended with a second R&O (or more) in a continuing proceeding (such as the DTV transition in the United States).

Regulations.gov[2] is a website established in 2002 to provide better access to rulemaking. It allows comments to be posted to nearly 300 federal agencies.

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