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An Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) is a document that an agency may choose to issue before it is ready to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). It may also be called a "notice of intent" or simply a "request for comments." The ANPRM is used by an agency as a vehicle for obtaining public participation in the formulation of a regulatory change before the agency has done significant research or investigation on its own. Thus, one of the primary uses of an ANPRM is to involve the interested public in a regulatory action at an early stage, before the agency has arrived at even a tentative decision on a particular regulatory change. In some cases the agency may issue an ANPRM to test public reaction to a proposal.

The use of some types of advance rulemaking documents has grown in recent years, largely as a response to the oft-heard complaint that agencies rarely make significant changes in response to comments once they reach the NPRM stage. The semi-annual Unified Regulatory Agenda that agencies are required to publish can be viewed as an advance notice of all significant rulemaking actions being considered by each Federal agency.

The APA does not mention the ANPRM as an official part of the rulemaking process. Nor is an agency required to issue an ANPRM unless a specific statute or the agency's own rules require it to do so. Also, an agency cannot use the ANPRM's notice-and-comment period as the only basis for issuing a final rule. If an agency chooses to use an ANPRM, it still must issue an NPRM before issuing a final rule on that subject.

This glossary was first compiled by The Regulatory Group, Inc., for its training courses more than 20 years ago. It is constantly being amended and revised to stay current with the developments in the Federal regulatory process. Please contact us if you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions on how this glossary can be further improved.
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