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NARA Releases Response to Petition Regarding Incorporation by Reference


New York, Oct 16, 2013

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently issued a Federal Register notice officially responding to a February 2012 petition calling for the amendment of NARA’s regulations regarding U.S. government agency requests to add standards and other documents to the Code of Federal Regulations through a process known as incorporation by reference (IBR) [see related story].

The petition, which was filed by Peter Strauss, a law professor at Columbia University, argued that government’s current use of incorporation by reference failed to provide reasonable availability to individuals seeking information about the contents of voluntary consensus standards that have been incorporated into U.S. regulations and laws. ANSI filed comments in connection with an earlier NARA notice seeking responses to the petition [see related story] and subsequently invited Mr. Strauss and other stakeholders to discuss the issue at its 2012 Legal Issues Forum, part of the World Standards Week (WSW) series of events [see related story].

In the new notice, NARA announced that it agreed that regulations in this area need to be updated, but said that the changes suggested in the petition could not be made because they exceeded the agency’s statutory authority. Instead, NARA proposed that agencies seeking approval of incorporation by reference requests should include a discussion of the steps taken to ensure that the contents of the standards to be incorporated are reasonably available to interested parties [see related story].

The full notice from NARA is available online.

ANSI is currently developing its response to NARA’s new notice, and strongly encourages all affected members of the ANSI Federation and other relevant stakeholders to submit their own comments. All comments to NARA must be received by December 31, 2013, and may be submitted by email to Fedreg.legal@nara.gov or online at www.regulations.gov.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel