Major Federal Regulations Issued Without Public Notice

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), 35 percent of major federal regulations – those with at least $100 billion in annual economic impact – were issued without a public notice from 2003 to 2010.

The GAO also said that 44 percent of non-major regulations were issued without a public notice, which is referred to as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

“During calendar years 2003 through 2010, agencies published 568 major rules and about 30,000 nonmajor rules,” the GAO said in a December report to Congress. “[Federal] agencies published about 35 percent of major rules and about 44 percent of nonmajor rules without an NPRM during those years.”

The GAO found a large spike in this practice under President Barack Obama, with the percentage of major rules issued without public notice jumping from 26 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2009. The number of major rules issued this way also hit a high point in both 2009 and 2010. (Obama’s first year in office as president began in January 2009.)

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