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An Overview of the Rulemaking Process

Jim Butler, Natural Resources and Environmental Administrative Law and Procedure (1999)

Administrative regulations have become the dominant tool for governing private conduct, particularly for those industries involved in the development of natural resources and the use of public lands. This paper provides an overview of the process of informal rulemaking by federal agencies. In an effort to narrow the scope and increase the usefulness of this paper, it will address only what is commonly referred to as “notice and comment” rulemaking. This paper will not deal with administrative adjudication or formal rulemaking and will not attempt to resolve the slippery distinctions between legislative, interpretive and prescriptive rules.