Government regulation websites to consolidate

Instead of going to numerous government websites to get updated on the latest regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency or the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, contractors will soon be able to go to a single federal regulatory website that will show up-to-date proposals, final rules an comments on regulations.

The website, which the Bush administration recently approved, is supposed to simplify regulations for the public. There are currently 173 rulemaking entities in the federal government, and while some of the government’s regulations are available on or on the different administrations’ websites, many regulations are still only available on paper, not electronically.

The Office of Management and Budget and the EPA brought about the website, called “eRulemaking” in an effort to consolidate redundant systems. Agencies that already have their regulations on their own rules websites would shut them down and move their regulations to the new, mega-regulation site. For agencies that currently do not have their rules posted online, they would simply add them to the new system.

Other than making the regulation process simpler, another goal behind the consolidation is saving money. The government will save $70 million in five years, according to the OMB. While the system would cost $20 million to build and $6 million to operate annually, individual agencies would have to pay annual fees to be included on the site, depending on how much they use it.

No decisions have been made on how complex the regulations etool will be. Contractors can expect to check the new site for diesel and environmental regulations for construction equipment beginning in early 2006.