Transformation of the Federal Regulatory Process
Susan E. Dudley, Administrator
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office of the President

Celebration of the 5th Anniversary of Regulations.gov
Environmental Protection Agency

January 22, 2008

Thank you for inviting me today, and happy 5th anniversary. As a user of Regulations.gov, I want first to congratulate and thank the e-Rulemaking team and all the committee members on the recent launch of the new Regulations.gov site. I really like the advanced new search capabilities and it is much more user-friendly.

I've been studying regulation for over 25 years, and find regulations fascinating.

Each year, Federal agencies issue thousands of new regulations affecting virtually every aspect of social and economic activity in the United States – ranging from the health industry, to banking, to agriculture.

To find out information on a rule, we used to have to go to an agency's docket room – deep in the bowels of a government building – and make copies of relevant information (at 5 cents a page). That meant only those sophisticated in the ways of Washington were able to influence rulemaking. The Administration's e-Rulemaking initiative changes this by providing all American citizens a greater voice in the regulatory decision-making process.

We don't have to go back 25 years to see significant changes. Over the last five years e-Rulemaking has transformed access to the federal government rulemaking process.

  • Regulations.gov has brought government wide-information together, and made it searchable, so a rule watcher doesn't need to know what agency is issuing a specific rule.

  • A visitor to Regulations.gov can find regulations on a particular subject, determine whether they are open for comment, access important supporting documents, file comments on proposals, and even read comments filed by others.

  • And it has adopted features that – 5 years ago – we didn't consider important to the rulemaking process, such as RSS feed, book marking etc.

Another e-Rulemaking advancement is the online publication of the Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan. For the first time last month, they became available in an electronic format that offers users an enhanced ability to obtain and search for information on upcoming US regulations. The shift from paper to the Internet will help save Federal regulatory agencies an estimated $800,000 per year, and allow the public to search current regulatory information and, within the next few months, historical content.

The e-Rulemaking initiative offers new and expanding opportunities for the public to get involved in the regulatory process. As the project moves forward, we can anticipate further enhancements in public participation, new rule-writing tools, greater government accountability, more timely actions, and ultimately, better regulatory decisions affecting the economic vitality, safety, health, and environment of our country.

Thank you for your contributions to that.