Skip to main content E-Gov logo Powering America's future with technology.

Presidential Initiatives


Program Managers

John Moses

Managing Partner

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


Allows the public to easily access and participate in the rulemaking process. Improves the access to, and quality of, the rulemaking process for individuals, businesses, and other government entities while streamlining and increasing the efficiency of internal agency processes.

Progress to Date

  • eRulemaking’s Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) supports more than 90% of Federal rulemaking output with nearly 4,000 federal users from 29 Federal Departments and Agencies (comprised of more than 160 bureaus, commissions, boards, and agencies), marking the completion of scheduled Department and Agency deployment of FDMS in January 2008
  • Deployed the sitemaps protocol in January 2008, enabling major search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) to locate Federal Register documents posted each day in
  • Launched a re-designed third generation in December 2007, which features a streamlined and simplified homepage, full-text search capability, a fast indexed-based commercial search engine, and an RSS feed
  • The new electronic version of the Unified Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda became available on in December 2007, enabling the public to view Agencies’ planned regulations
  • In July 2007, deployed the electronic records management capabilities for Federal agencies in the Federal Docket Management System, providing implemented Departments and Agencies the opportunity to use the system as their “electronic system of record” instead of keeping paper documents
  • Enhanced the second generation of in March 2007 to improve public access to, understanding of, and participation in federal rulemaking and related decisions by incorporating
    • Email notification from when new documents are posted to a docket
    • Bookmarks for dockets and documents
  • eRulemaking received seven (7) major awards and nominations for the launch of and Agency migration to the Federal Docket Management System. The Program received two (2) finalist nominations in 2005, two (2) finalist nominations in 2006, and three (3) awards in 2007, including
    • 2005 finalist and 2006 semi-finalist for the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Council for Excellence in Government’s Innovation in American Government Award;
    • 2005 and 2006 finalist for the award;
    • 2007 “Top Five” Award winner;
    • 2007 Intergovernmental Solutions Award winner;
    • o 2007 GCN Agency Award winner.
  • From 2005 – 2007, eRulemaking continued FDMS deployment and implementation activities for successive groups of federal agencies on a “rolling admission-style” process. Legacy agency docket systems decommissioned as the agencies are migrated to FDMS
  • eRulemaking deploys E-Authentication capabilities in FDMS in December 2006
  • On September 25, 2005, eRulemaking launched the Federal Docket Management System, an electronic document repository enabling agencies to post all rulemaking and non-rulemaking documents for public access and comment. From this 2nd generation, the public can find, view, and comment on implemented agencies’ Federal Register rule and non-rulemaking documents, scientific / economic / legal / technical analyses, and public comments. (The 2nd generation operates for 27 months, from September 25, 2005 to December 20, 2007)
  • eRulemaking received five (5) major awards in 2003, two (2) awards and one (1) finalist nomination in 2004 in recognition of the launch of, including:
  • div class="bump01">
    • 2003 FOSE Showcase of Excellence Award winner,
    • 2003 Citizen Service SecurE-Biz Leadership Award winner,
    • 2003 Robert Colborn Innovation Award winner,
    • 2003 E-Gov Pioneer Award winner,
    • 2003 Grace Hopper Technology Leadership Award winner,
    • 2004 Public Access to Government Information Award winner,
    • 2004 AFFIRM Service to the Citizen Award winner.
    • 2004 finalist for the award.
  • On January 23, 2003, the eRulemaking Program (renamed from the Online Rulemaking Initiative) and partner Agencies launch, after only three months. For the first time ever, American citizens can access and comment on all proposed Federal regulations from a single web site. Millions of public users access this site to find, view, and comment on proposed regulations. (This first generation operates for 33 months, from January 23, 2003 until September 25, 2005).

Next Steps

  • Continue to improve to improve public access to, understanding of, and participation in federal rulemaking and related decisions
  • Continue to improve the Federal Docket Management System to streamline agency efficiency and effectiveness in promulgating rulemakings and other actions that follow a “public notice and comment process.”
  • Deploy additional interested federal agencies into the Federal Docket Management System

Web Site


E-Rulemaking Metrics

Exhibit 300

Managing Partner Agency Exhibit 300


Key objectives of the eRulemaking Program include:

  • Expand public understanding of the rulemaking process
  • Improve the quality of Federal rulemaking decisions
  • Increase the amount, breadth, and ease of citizen and intergovernmental participation in rulemaking

As a cornerstone of democracy, the voice of the people is as important as it is powerful. American citizens increasingly are expressing their opinions on Federal actions that affect their lives. With the emergence of the Internet, citizens are going online to exercise this right more than ever before. In January 2003, the interagency eRulemaking Program developed ( to provide citizens with a central place to learn about all proposed regulations and to have their comments shape the rulemaking process at Federal agencies. removes logistical and institutional barriers that previously made it difficult, if not impossible, for a citizen to navigate the vastness of Federal regulatory activities. was a groundbreaking achievement on the road toward citizen-centered government and is transforming the regulatory development process across the Federal government.

In September 2005, the eRulemaking Program launched the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS), greatly expanding public access to information and improving Agency management of the rulemaking process. FDMS, publicly accessible at, serves as an electronic document repository, enabling Departments and Agencies to post all rulemaking and non-rulemaking documents (e.g., Federal Register notices, supporting analyses, and comments) for public access and comment. Public users can view, download, and comment on rulemakings and non-rulemaking documents accepting comments as well as view and download documents no longer accepting comments. The public can bookmark documents and dockets of interest. Public users can sign-up for and receive email notifications as documents are added to the system. offers the public full-text search capabilities and RSS feed. For Agencies, FDMS provides secure login, e-Authentication single sign-on, role-based access control, e-mail notification, configurable workflow management, electronic records management (meeting the DOD 5015.2 standard) and a system integrated with the digitization and ingestion of paper documents., with its user friendly interface, empowers and encourages all segments of the public with access to a computer and the Internet - whether at home, at work, or at a local library - to participate in Federal decision-making. This access is revolutionizing the way the government writes rules, solicits comments, and involves the public in its decision-making by moving from paper-based processes and relying on mail to new e-government innovations leading to more efficient interactions between government and the public. The one-stop Web site allows citizens and organizations interested in regulatory developments to have free and easy access to Federal rulemaking information. opens the door to those individuals who have never been involved in the rulemaking process and gives them the opportunity to contribute their views. serves as a trusted source of Federal information and provides citizens easy one-stop access at a single Web site. eRulemaking fosters a more inclusive form of government, promoting the key tenets and principles of eDemocracy – using information technology to enable every citizen to more effectively participate in his or her government.

Fast Facts

In response to Congressional statutes, more than 8,000 rules are created each year by approximately 160 different Federal agencies. As many as 500 regulations can be open for comment at any given time.

The public can search through one million documents in posted by more than 160 Federal agencies, bureaus, and commissions.