Document Type


Publication Date



The internet holds great promise when agencies affirmatively use it to solicit public in- put during initial policy development in either notice and comment rule- making, or in the initial development of interpretive rules, guidelines, or policies. The Clinton administration has embraced such a vision. Many federal agencies actively use the Internet to disseminate government information and solicit public input on important policy matters. This Article explores the manner in which the Internet and similar technological innovations can be, and are being, used to expand public access to government information and to increase public participation in all forms of agency decisionmaking. Part I reviews the factors that initially encouraged agencies to make policy through notice and comment rulemaking, the reasons why agencies have moved away from that process toward "shadow law," and the disadvantages of "shadow law." Part II explores the efforts of federal government to encourage agencies to use technology and information more accessible. Part III describes the manner in which the Internet can be, and is being, used to disseminate government information. Part III also explores the benefits of using the Internet to disseminate information and increase public participation in agency decisionmaking. Part IV focuses on some of the limitations of using the Internet. Finally, Part V examines how the Internet can be used to develop rules through notice and comment rulemaking. Part V investigates the costs, benefits, and legal questions involved in using the technology