Web Standard: Regulatory Template
Creating an EPA “Rule” or “Regulation”
On this page:
- Template Elements for “Rule” or “Regulation”
- Standard Dos and Don’ts for Rule-Related Web Content
The following information should be included on your regulation (final rule) web page. This template should be used for any final rule published in the Federal Register (FR), or a part of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that contains several final FR rulemakings. Further instruction about each subheading area and box is listed below. If you choose to follow this template for a rule that is in development but that is not final, or a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), some content areas may not apply or may differ, but should be updated when the proposal is promulgated as a final rule. Items marked with an asterisk [*] are required, but it is recommended that pages include all sections where information is available.
It is helpful if you consistently use the same “Rule Title” on this web page, your Federal Register final rule document, and other documents about the rule during its development.
Use this area to briefly state the purpose of the rule. Decide whether you wish to link to either the final rule that was published in the Federal Register or to the CFR section that the rule modifies. Keep in mind that the CFR is updated annually, so linking to a specific section may be dated when the CFR is updated. A suggested word limit for your rule summary section is 150-200 words.
Use this area to include history or background of rule, the rule proposal, etc.
- Where possible, if you are seeking public comment, link to Regulations.gov when posting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) or similar document that was published in the Federal Register. Each document posted in Regulations.gov has a unique URL within Regulations.gov.
Use this area to list resources or to link to fact sheets, guidance documents, implementation tools, outreach materials, etc. This area is flexible to make what you choose of it.
Discuss information that the regulated community can use to aid their compliance efforts.
- Consider identifying the industries or sectors affected, with their NAICS codes, both in your content and your metadata.
- Clearly outline what the regulated community must do to comply with new Rule:
- what they have to do (compliance) and
- what happens if they don't (enforcement).
- Provide additional information for partnerships or initiatives for businesses that want to go the extra mile.
- Consult with the OECA workgroup representative from your rulemaking workgroup to develop appropriate content for this area.
The Basic Information box is built up of five components, listed below. If you do not wish to use any of the suggested citations, you may omit it from this box. Hyperlinks to the source data for the first four items below are recommended. You can add more than one of each component (e.g., more than one FR Citation.)
Legal Authority: The standard format is [## U.S.C. ####], e.g. 42 U.S.C. 5859 or 33 U.S.C. 1231
- For more information on correctly displaying statutory authority, see the Office of Federal Register’s Document Drafting Handbook, section 2.11
- Carefully consider whether to hyperlink to a specific section of the statute, and see further Dos and Don’ts guidance below. The generic US Code link is https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/uscode.
- You may add information about Legal Authority that’s not from the U.S. Code.
FR Citation: The standard format is [## FR ####] e.g., 75 FR 68049 or 67 FR 593
- When posting signed rules or future Federal Register documents on the web, follow the guidance in Posting Federal Register Documents on the Internet (.docx).
CFR Citation: The standard format is [40 CFR Part ####] e.g., 40 CFR Part 122 or 40 CFR Parts 79, 80, 85, 86, 600, 1066
- Carefully consider whether to hyperlink to a specific part of the CFR (these links change annually and would require frequent maintenance), and see further Dos and Don’ts guidance below. The generic CFR link is https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/cfr.
Docket Number: The standard format is [EPA-[HQ or R##]-[Program Office*XXXXX]-20XX-XXXX], e.g., EPA-HQ-OW-2010–0606 or EPA-R02-OAR-2012-0889.
Effective Date: Please use format MM/DD/YYYY, e.g. 08/12/2013 or 11/04/1999, including when multiple effective dates apply.
[Note: If the content on your web page relates to a rulemaking proposal, you may wish to include the Comment Period End Date: (format MM/DD/YYYY).]
- Do link to the official versions of documents published in the Federal Register, US Code, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), dockets, etc. Official versions come from the Government Printing Office (GPO) or Regulations.gov. Do not post your own PDF versions, unless a document is not available digitally from GPO or Regs.gov.
- Do not provide links to https://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/ which was discontinued in fall 2014.
- Do not provide links to https://www.federalregister.gov/. The legal disclaimer at this site states that its content is “not an official, legal edition of the FR.” For this reason, GPO is the source data that should always be used for Regulation or Rule links.
- Do not link to non-government sites, such as Cornell's U.S. Code site, when referring to U.S. law (statute or code) or regulation (rule or rulemaking).
- Do follow the guidance in Posting Federal Register Documents on the Internet (.docx) when posting any signed Federal Register documents on the web, particularly prior to their publication in the FR.
- Do follow EPA web standards for external links to the Federal Register, US Code, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), or Regs.gov dockets. If you link to any website that is not hosted by the government, follow EPA’s procedures for External Site Links.
- Do not recreate content from the EPA-wide Laws and Regulations channel. Any legal or regulatory summaries you write should be topically oriented; for example: "The Clean Water Act and Puget Sound," not just "The Clean Water Act" (which is already summarized).
- Do review and include current agency instructions on appropriate metadata for your page.
- Do let the EPA Channels Editor-in-Chief (currently Cathy Edstrom in OMS), and the Laws and Regulations Editor (currently Caryn Muellerleile in OP) know when you are creating "Laws and Regulations" content, so they can coordinate updating links and content on other channels and web areas.
About this Standard
Original effective date: 01/05/2015
Last approved on: 02/12/2020
Web Council review by: 02/12/2023 (or earlier if deemed necessary by the Web Council)