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The Office of Management and Budget unveiled the portal today, the first project under the e-rulemaking electronic government initiative led by the Environmental Protection Agency. is intended to provide a single place for all citizens to search, access and comment on proposed federal rules.

According to OMB, as many as 500 rules for more than 160 agencies are open for comment at any given time. The portal will consolidate public access to those rules—a significant step considering that, for example, 23 million people submitted comments on proposed rules in 2001.

"[] is an important first step in making it easier and cheaper to allow citizens to have relevant and timely input in the regulations that affect their lives," said Linda Fisher, EPA's deputy administrator.

A second project under the e-rulemaking initiative is expected to save about $94 million over three years by creating a single governmentwide docket system for the agencies involved in rulemaking.

That single system will be the main area in which e-rulemaking will increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve federal rulemaking.

"E-rulemaking aims to make rulemaking more transparent and more accessible to citizens," said Mark Forman, associate director for IT and e-government at OMB.

Part of that improvement will be reflected in the amount of proposed rules that individuals can comment about online. Before the portal started, about 40 percent of proposed rules could be commented upon online. With the portal, officials are expecting that figure to rise to 85 percent. Further, as more agencies are added to the portal, the percentage will increase.


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