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A regulatory agency is a common name for an agency that has been delegated authority by Congress to issue rules or regulations, to issue licenses, to establish rates, or to undertake a combination of these actions. Traditionally, when people referred to a "regulatory agency" they usually had in mind one of the multi-member, "independent" regulatory boards or commissions, like the FCC or FERC, that issue licenses and otherwise regulate the economic status of a particular industry. (See Independent Regulatory Agency.)

In recent years Congress has given more and more regulatory authority to executive branch departments and single-headed agencies, such as OSHA in Labor, NHTSA in Transportation, and EPA. Today there are approximately 100 regulatory agencies of the Federal government.

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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