Friday, May 8, 2009

Reader Comment – 05-06-08 – RUA Procedures

On Wednesday Anonymous posted a comment to my blog on TWIC Reader ANPRM comments, addressing the issue of confusion about the RUA (Recurring Unescorted Access). Anonymous writes:
“RUA could be made less mystifying if the Coast Guard would give some real-life examples, maybe by utilizing the FAQ page on the Homeport TWIC site. As was done with side-by-side accompaniment, via the PAC documents and the NVIC. Here's how RUA would be utilized on a vessel, on a small facility with limited personnel, on a large facility with an access control system aligned with TWIC. I think your explanation [in an earlier blog] of RUA is probably the best explanation I've read so far.”
Writing Regulations

This is a typical problem that regulation writers have. They are writing rules and regulations that will have to apply to a variety of situations. Every sentence that they write is reviewed by a number people; a variety of subject matter experts, lawyers and managers. Text that explains the concepts involved is avoided because of the fear that the explanation will limit enforcement activities when matters reach the litigation phase.

This problem is further aggravated in writing an ‘Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making’. Here the agency objective is to try to find out some of the unintended consequences of their proposed rule. They want to try to describe their intended rule in some level of detail, but want to leave enough room in the description to identify potential problems in the application of the rule.

There is actually a good side to the responders’ confusion about the RUA provisions. The regulation writers will see the same level of confusion that I have identified here in my blog. This should lead them to providing a little more detail in their explanation of the RUA concept in the actual draft regulation that will be published as a ‘Notice of Proposed Rule Making’(NPRM).

It is doubtful that that explanation would be found in the actual wording of the regulation, but it would certainly be discussed in more detail in the Preamble to the rule. This is where the regulators explain what they are trying to accomplish and address the comments submitted in the earlier rule making efforts.

Need for Public Participation This is why public comments on all phases of regulation development are so important to making good regulations. The writers of regulations have some level of technical expertise in area being regulated; usually on the enforcement side of the issue. What they usually lack is day-to-day experience in the industrial side of things.

Even when the writer has spent some time in the industry, it is impossible for them to have experience in all of the many varieties of organizations that will be affected by their regulations. This is why I take so much of my time in reviewing and writing about the submitted comments on draft regulations that will affect the chemical security community. I am hoping to goad people into submitting their own comments.

While I appreciate comments like this one from Anonymous being posted to my blog, they would be more effective if the same comments were posted to the website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is why the July 1 2003 edition of 33 CFR 101 is so fascinating: the preamble gives you insight into the why and how of Subchapter H. In the interim final rule on TWIC readers, I'm sure the USCG will do the same careful job of answering major threads, pro and con.

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