DOT's Review Process
Generally, each DOT agency has divided its rules into 10 different groups and analyzes one group each year. For purposes of these reviews, a year coincides with the fall-to-fall schedule for publication of the Regulatory Agenda. Thus, Year 1 (1998) began in the fall of 1998 and ended in the fall of 1999 and so on. Through the Agenda, we request public comment on the timing of the reviews. For example, we ask if there is a reason for scheduling an analysis and review for a particular rule earlier than we have. Any comments concerning the plan or particular analyses can be submitted to the appropriate regulatory contacts.
Section 610 Reviews
The agency analyzes each of the rules in a given year's group to determine whether any rule has a SEIOSNOSE (significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities) and, thus, requires review in accordance with section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The level of analysis depends on the nature of the rule and its applicability. We request that public comments concerning the small entity impact of the rules be submitted to us early in the analysis year to help us in making our determinations.
In Appendix D in each fall Agenda, we publish the results of the analyses we have completed during the previous year. For rules that had a negative finding on SEIOSNOSE, we give a short explanation (e.g., "these rules only establish petition processes that have no cost impact" or "these rules do not apply to any small entities"). For rules that do have a SEIOSNOSE, we announce that we will conduct a formal, section 610 review during the following 12 months. At this stage, we add an entry to the "Prerule stage" section in the Agenda describing the review in more detail. We also seek public comment on how best to lessen the impact of these rules and provide a name or docket to which public comments can be submitted.
We also examine each specified rule to determine whether any other reasons exist for revising or revoking the rule (e.g., changes in technology may warrant a change to the rule) or for rewriting the rule in plain language. In each fall Agenda, we also publish information on the results of the other reviews completed during the previous year.
The Federal Aviation Administration, in addition to reviewing its rules in accordance with the schedule provided in the Agenda for section 610 reviews, has established a process by which the public is asked every three years for its comments on which rules need review the most (see, e.g., 72 Federal Register 64170).