Web site will consolidate all federal rules for comment

A Web site that will allow the public to submit comments electronically on the federal government's proposed rules and regulations will be up and running by the end of the year, the Office of Management and Budget announced Monday.

"Millions of Americans want to easily find and comment on proposed regulations," said Mark Forman, OMB's associate director for information technology and e-government. "This action means that, by the end of this year, the public will no longer need to navigate through a sea of agency Web sites to comment on regulations that will impact their lives."

The rulemaking portal is part of OMB's e-government initiative. It will consolidate proposed and interim rules from all federal agencies on one Web site, making them easier to find and eliminating the need for maintaining multiple Web sites across the federal government, OMB Director Mitch Daniels wrote in a May 3 memo to agency and department chiefs. Though the Federal Register prints proposed, interim and final agency rules, it does not allow people to respond through its site, and the information printed in the publication is not limited to rules and regulations, an OMB spokeswoman said.

"The potential benefit to citizens and businesses in this area is dramatic," Daniels wrote. According to Daniels, duplicative rulemaking Web sites will cost the government more than $70 million to run and maintain during the next 18 months. Daniels cited the Defense Department's Electronic Rulemaking Management System and the EPA's Regulatory Public Access System as two examples of rulemaking sites that already exist for particular agencies.

The Transportation Department will lead the new initiative, working with other agencies to develop a plan to eliminate redundant rulemaking systems. Once the Web site comes online, agencies will be responsible for providing it with their proposed rules, the OMB spokeswoman said.

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