EPA plans to recycle online rule-making systems

EPA plans to recycle online rule-making systems

NEW ORLEANS'When an interagency team led by the Environmental Protection Agency finishes migrating all online rule-making systems to the Regulations.gov portal by September 2004, more than 20 could be obsolete.

But E-Rulemaking project director Oscar Morales and other agency IT officials are looking at ways to reuse some of those 20 systems to perform document management, content management or other functions on a small scale for a few agencies.

Morales, who this week spoke at the 23rd annual Management of Change Conference sponsored by the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils, said many of the systems serve dual purposes and the decision to shut them down may not be so cut-and-dried.

'As we looked at the specs of the systems, we found they had other functionalities,' Morales said. 'Shutting these systems down would create other problems.'

Morales said some of the rule-making systems also perform document tracking and processing, and hold information on agencies' efforts to comply with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act.

'We are not being told to do this, but it occurred to a number of us that this just makes sense,' Morales said. 'The systems will provide a common solution to a problem that many can share.'

The Office of Management and Budget said agencies spent more than $27 million on disparate online rule-making systems in fiscal 2002, and officials expect to shut down five systems and save about $11 million this year. The new portal, at www.regulations.gov, lets citizens and businesses find and comment on proposed federal rules online.

Tad Anderson, OMB's portfolio manager for business-to-government e-government projects, said the agency's goal is to find the systems that provide additional value.

By July, EPA's team will begin migrating five legacy Web systems and five paper systems to the Regulations.gov portal. EPA will shift all systems by September 2004, according to OMB's E-Government Strategy.

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