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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Policy, Management and Budget
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2004 DGF Reg Neg Overview

Negotiated Rulemaking Act: Purpose

The purpose of this subchapter is to establish a framework for the conduct of negotiated rulemaking, consistent with section 553 of this title, to encourage agencies to use the process when it enhances the informal rulemaking process. Nothing in this subchapter should be construed as an attempt to limit innovation and experimentation with the negotiated rulemaking process or with other innovative rulemaking procedures otherwise authorized by law.

Negotiated Rulemaking Act: Determination of Need

  • There is a need for a rule
  • Limited # of identifiable interests significantly affected
  • Balanced representation can be reasonably expected
  • Reasonable expectation consensus can be reached within a timeframe
  • Will not unreasonably delay promulgation of a rule
  • The agency has the resources to support the process
  • The agency, within legal obligations will use any consensus "as the basis for the rule"

Negotiated Rulemaking Context

  • Augments, does not replace, the Agency's rulemaking process
  • Rule must still go through normal Agency and administration review processes
  • Rule must still comply with other applicable statutes and executive orders
  • Draft rule is still subject to appropriate environmental and other reviews (GSA and FACA, OMB, and EIS or EIR requirements)
  • Lead agency still required to fulfill consultation obligations with other agencies (i.e., FWS and ESA).
  • Rule still is subject to public comment per the APA
  • If agreement is not reached, agency proceeds with its own rule.

Negotiated Rulemaking Governing Statutes and Policies

  • Negotiated Rulemaking Act 1996
  • Administrative Dispute Resolution Act 1996
  • EPA Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy 2000
  • Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)


  • 1982 ACUS recommends agencies experiment with technique
  • 1983 FAA and US EPA initiate pilots
  • 1990 Congress enacts Negotiated Rulemaking Act
  • 1996 Congress reauthorizes as part of APA

DOI Rulemaking Process

  1. Consult with bureau and Department regulatory contact in Exec. Sec. and SOL
  2. Prepare regulatory alert form and record of compliance, add to semiannual agenda and OMB list
  3. Develop draft rule and preamble in consultation with reg contacts and SOL
  4. Circulate for review, surnaming, and signature (within bureau and to SOL and Exec. Sec.)
  5. Forward to Exec. Sec. to obtain Chief of Staff approval once rule is signed and ready to go forward to either OMB or Federal Register
  6. Send to OMB, if necessary
  7. Publish rule in Federal Register
  8. Analyze public comments and repeat steps 3 through 7 to prepare final rule

EPA Rulemaking Process


Negotiated Rulemaking Process



General Requirements of FACA

  • Obtain a charter
  • Maintain a balanced membership
  • Hold open public meetings
  • Allow the public to speak or file written statements
  • Announce all meetings in the Federal Register
  • Keep minutes or summaries
  • Maintain all committee documents for public inspection
  • Committees may form workgroups, however, workgroups cannot give advice and recommendations directly.

Claims for Negotiated Rulemaking

  • Avoids or reduces litigation
  • Expands agency's understanding of diverse interests and information
  • Reduces the time for rulemaking
  • Builds political support
  • Produces more creative, tailored rules that are better understood
  • Results in improved compliance or easier implementation

Criticisms of Negotiated Rulemaking

  • Usurps agency's authority and responsibility to decide and act
  • Leaves out under-represented or hard to represent constituents
  • Is slow, complex, difficult to administer, and resource and time intensive
  • Does not save time nor money
  • Does not reduce litigation

Helpful Websites

Useful References

  • Negotiated Rulemaking Sourcebook, 1995, Administrative Conference of the U.S. (contact:
  • "Experienced Practitioner Offers Guidance to Participants in Negotiated Rulemaking" BNA's Alternative Dispute Resolution Report, vol. 2, pp.62-64, 80-86. 1988 (also in Sourcebook, above.)