DOT DETAILS DOCKETS - DOT's Eisner extols benefits of eRulemaking

While the Internet has made most information searches easier, until the launch of www.regulations.gov, people researching federal regulations still faced the daunting task of finding which Web site contained the information they needed. They also had little to no access to public comments or supporting documents for those regulations.

The E-Rulemaking initiative created www.regulations.gov as a first step toward building an easier, more accessible method for the public to learn about and comment on regulations in a timely manner.

In an interview with Inserso Insights, Neil Eisner, a pioneer in e-rulemaking and the assistant general counsel for Regulation and Enforcement at DOT, explains, “In the past, many people never saw the actual rulemaking docket. They simply got summaries from newspapers, consumer groups, or industry groups, and each of these might slant the information to focus on a particular point. Therefore, many people did not know the details. Now, the public has easy access to all the details."

"Law firms love the easy and instant access to the documents. It saves them time and costs associated with messengers and paralegals... They can find information infinitely faster and simply "cut and paste" their desired text rather than retyping it"

Eisner says the DOT has benefited as well, saving $1.3 million per year since the technological changes allowed DOT to reduce storage space and personnel.

"The DOT is a shining example of using technology to share knowledge, encourage stakeholders' involvement, and cut costs, all at once," said Hamid Moinamin, president of Inserso. "It is great to see real, tangible benefits being realized from innovative technology solutions such as DOT’s eRulemaking system."