U.S. federal agency rulemaking support

Providing regulatory expertise to help government agencies undertake all aspects of the federal rulemaking process.

Overview

We are experts in the U.S. federal rulemaking process. Our multidisciplinary team of policy analysts, economists, attorneys, scientists, transportation and emergency management specialists, and others specialize in providing cost-effective support and tools that help U.S. federal policymakers and regulatory offices meet their responsibilities at all stages of this complex process.

U.S. federal rulemaking requires clear and precise drafting, defensible and transparent analysis, and extensive public involvement. Regulators must balance certainty and predictability with the need to promote innovation, usually under challenging deadlines.

As authors of the Reg Map®—the detailed yet easy-to-understand visual guide to the federal rulemaking process—we offer a full range of services to assist clients who develop, promulgate, implement, review, and revise regulations.

Policy research

We help agencies understand the possible risks, trade offs, costs, and benefits associated with potential regulatory actions.

Our team performs comparative policy and legal research relating to regulatory programs, drafts policy options papers and technical background documents, documents the history of an agency’s interpretation of its regulations or statutory authority, and assesses how certain initiating events (e.g., new legislation or Executive Orders [EO]) will impact regulations, policies, and programs. This support also includes industry analyses, review of technological issues or innovations, assessment of market failure effects, and review of potentially applicable policies and regulations to identify the need for clarification or to close any gaps.

Rulemaking cost-benefit analysis

Our team produces defensible rulemaking cost-benefit analyses (e.g., regulatory impact analysis/assessment [RIA], cost-effectiveness analysis) by using the best available science to develop an analytical framework with a consistent set of economic assumptions underlying both social costs and benefits analyses for the proposed action and regulatory alternatives.

We present total costs, benefits, transfers, and economic impacts as directed under EO 12866, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-4, and other EO and statutory requirements. Our economic analyses ensure agencies are able to consider a full set of factors when weighing policy decisions, including benefit and cost categories that cannot be quantified or monetized fully. When necessary, we can supplement traditional cost-benefit frameworks with methods to capture uncertainty and conduct sensitivity analyses (e.g., Monte Carlo simulations), break-even analyses to help agencies understand what level of difficult-to-quantify benefits would offset rulemaking costs, and profiles of distributional or equity impacts.

We also provide complete documentation of the analysis methodology and results suitable for a standalone regulatory report or incorporation into a Federal Register notice (FRN) preamble, as needed, and assist with addressing feedback provided by OMB and other reviewers during the clearance process.

Statutory and Executive Order requirements

We can help you conduct all analyses to address and document compliance with the full set of applicable statutory and EO requirements.

Our team:

  • Prepares small business impact analyses under the Regulatory Flexibility Act
  • Develops Information Collection Request (ICR) packages and rulemaking FRN preamble language for compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
  • Analyzes the distribution of adverse human health or environment impacts on minority and low-income populations to evaluate environmental justice concerns
  • Assesses the cost and burden to state, local, and tribal governments
  • Provides technical expertise and program support to agencies implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Determines how a regulation might affect energy supply, distribution, or use

Public comment management and analysis

We support federal agency efforts to transparently collect, analyze, summarize, and respond to public comments received through the Federal Docket Management System and other means. CommentWorks®—our highly configurable, secure, and innovative web-based application—streamlines the process of analyzing comments across multiple projects and allows us to share the results of our analysis with federal agencies in real time. It is sufficiently scalable to address dockets that range from tens or hundreds of comments to actions that receive over 1 million comments.

Our approach alleviates the burden of processing public comments from our federal clients. In its place, we offer a highly efficient mechanism for organizing and reviewing comment content, including identifying and separating form letters and duplicates from unique submissions, and rapidly elevating substantive comments. The CommentWorks tool—trusted by dozens of federal agencies on 1,000+ initiatives for more than a decade—allows us to create a database of public comments received on an initiative, parse and group comment excerpts by issue topic, and create a variety of reports.

Regulatory drafting and technical editing support

Our regulatory experts provide technical editing to agency rulemaking documents to ensure consistency in document style, format, terminology use, cross references, and conformance with Federal Register Document Drafting Handbook and U.S. Government Publishing Office Style Manual requirements. Based on decisions and direction from federal agency staff, our team also helps agencies organize, outline, and draft regulatory documents, including regulatory text, FRN preamble text, supporting technical documents, and comment summary and response inserts.

Process support

We help our clients improve the way they navigate and manage the rulemaking process. This includes support with rulemaking timelines, policy decision tracking, document version control, clearance process support (e.g., consolidating and tracking reviewer edits/comments), and tracking changes to regulatory text that necessitate changes to preamble text (and vice versa).

We also specialize in virtual and in-person internal workgroup and public meeting planning, support, and logistics. Our team supports public listening sessions, federal advisory committee meetings, and negotiated rulemaking committees.

Administrative record management

We draw on our experience—compiling decision files and administrative record indices for notice-and-comment rulemakings and NEPA-based environmental reviews—to ensure the efficient and accurate compilation of the administrative record and public docket for our clients. We develop guidance and tools for agency staff to help create, organize, and maintain an accurate and inclusive administrative record over the course of the project. Our well-organized indexing tools allow agency staff to efficiently review records the agency might ultimately exclude under deliberative privilege.

Rule implementation and roll out

We offer a wide range of business process and implementation support services that often are needed to implement rulemakings. Our team supports agencies in developing outreach and communications materials, guidance documents, technical assistance, and training materials to facilitate understanding of new requirements and improve stakeholder engagement.

We also create rulemaking roll out materials—such as graphics and data visualizations—to effectively communicate complex concepts to stakeholders, present information in a compelling format, and design training to deliver engaging experiences. These could be instructor-led, web-based, mobile, games, videos, or simulations.

Evaluating regulatory effectiveness

We conduct retrospective analyses that assess the overall impact and effectiveness of agencies’ regulations and policies. We also perform more narrowly focused “lookback reviews” (under Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act), which examine the impacts of regulations on small entities. These types of analyses can inform agency efforts to evaluate the costs and benefits of existing regulations and consider revisions that could reduce regulatory burden while still meeting statutory requirements and achieving regulatory objectives.

Our services

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