Auditors cite progress in electronic rulemaking

Federal auditors praised how an interagency body called the e-Rulemaking Executive Committee has organized the process of choosing a centralized electronic rulemaking system based on cost savings, risks and security.

A Government Accountability Office report, titled 'Progress Made in Developing Centralized E-Rulemaking System,' urged the interagency organization to ensure that there are written agreements between the Environmental Protection Agency, the lead agency in the project, and other agencies.

In the report, released today, GAO stated that EPA and its partner agencies should include performance measures such as cost savings and system performance in their written agreements. EPA agreed with the auditors' suggestions and said it would adopt them.

Several other agencies have joined EPA in posting their rulemaking processes on the administration's rulemaking system, including the Homeland Security Department.

A previous GAO report on the project had raised criticisms that EPA rejected. In that report, GAO said Regulations.gov lacked the functionality that would drive members of the general public to use it. EPA countered that the gradual adoption of the site was to be expected given the soft-sell marketing of the service.

The E-Government Act of 1992 assigned EPA the responsibility of developing a governmentwide e-rulemaking system. The first agencies began to migrate to Regulations.gov in May, and all agencies are set to join the process this fall.

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