Policy Integrity Helps Reform Federal Rulemaking Petition Process
Individuals have the right to petition federal agencies to issue, amend, or repeal regulations, but agencies lack a uniform process for handling these petitions. Policy Integrity recently worked with the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process, to create new guidelines for the petition process. In early December, ACUS adopted new recommendations for federal agencies, based on Policy Integrity’s research and suggestions.
This effort began in early 2014 when Policy Integrity proposed that ACUS update its investigation of petitions for rulemaking. ACUS agreed and retained Policy Integrity as a consultant on the project. The Policy Integrity team, led by legal director Jason Schwartz, then began a series of interviews with key government officials on agency practices with respect to petitions, and authored a report and a series of recommendations. Our recommendations include: the enhanced use of online platforms to educate the public; the facilitation of consultations with petitioners before and after submission; the creation of public comment periods for all petitions; the collection of statistics on agency petitions; and the establishment of default timelines for responses. ACUS issued its adopted recommendations on December 5th.
Policy Integrity is now conducting outreach to various federal agencies to encourage their adoption of the approved recommendations. We conducted an initial meeting with the Inspector General of the EPA, and other meetings will soon follow.