Public Participation in the Rulemaking Process FAQs

What is rulemaking?

Rulemaking is the process whereby the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) develops, proposes, and promulgates regulations pertaining to the environment and the public health. Louisiana's Administrative Procedure Act defines the procedures that DEQ, as well as other state agencies, must follow to propose new or amended regulations. The terms "rules" and "regulations" have the same meaning and are used interchangeably in this document.

Is there a division within DEQ that coordinates rulemaking for the department?

Yes. The Office of the Secretary, Legal Affairs and Criminal Investigations Division, Regulation Development Section, coordinates all DEQ rulemaking. They can be reached at (225) 219-3985.

What are the major steps in the rulemaking process?

  1. DEQ submits documents to the Office of the State Register for publication in the Louisiana Register. The Louisiana Register is the official state publication for notifying the public of a state agency's intent to propose new or amended regulations. The Louisiana Register is published on the twentieth of each month.
  2. Publication of the following documents in the Louisiana Register activates the rulemaking time clock:
    Notice of Intent - announcement to the public that a change to the DEQ regulations is being considered. A brief description of the rule is included, as well as the date and time of the public hearing, the deadline to submit comments, the address for submitting comments, and the DEQ regulation identifier number (e.g. HW049, AQ098, etc.).
    Fiscal and Economic Impact Statement - an estimate of the cost to the state and to those persons affected if the regulation is implemented.
    Proposed Rule - document which adds new regulations or revises or removes existing text. (Note: All proposed regulations are printed in the Louisiana Register except when exceptionally lengthy.)
  3. DEQ conducts a public hearing on the proposed rule 35-40 days after publication of the Notice of Intent. The comment period opens when the Notice of Intent is published and normally closes seven days after the public hearing is held, approximately 42-47 days.
  4. After close of the comment period, DEQ prepares the following documents (collectively called the "Summary Report"):
    - summary of the comments received and DEQ's response to the comments;
    - concise statement of the pros and cons of comment suggestions;
    - list of technical amendments (list of changes made to the regulation since it was proposed, usually as a result of the comments); and
    - proposed rule with technical amendments incorporated.
    This step can take as little time as a few days or as long as nine months to complete.
  5. DEQ submits the Summary Report to the Legislative Oversight Committees. The Legislative Oversight Committees assigned to oversee DEQ regulations are the House Committee on the Environment and the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality.
  6. The Legislative Oversight Committees (LOCs) have 30 days to consider the proposed rule. The committees may, or may not, hold a hearing on the rule. If a hearing is held it must be held between 5 and 30 days after receipt of the Summary Report from DEQ. If the proposed regulation is identical to an existing federal regulation, the LOCs have only ten days to consider the proposed rule.
  7. If the regulation is not disapproved by the Legislative Oversight Committees, DEQ submits it to the Office of the State Register for publication in the upcoming issue of the Louisiana Register.
  8. The Office of the State Register codifies the rule into the Louisiana Administrative Code.
  9. The rule is also codified by DEQ into its Environmental Regulatory Code, which is updated quarterly.

How long does it take from the time a regulation is proposed until it becomes final?

It varies anywhere from 2 to 12 months. Proposed regulations (fast-track) which are identical to existing federal regulations can become final within two months. All other rules take at least three months. Rules not finalized within 12 months after publication of the Notice of Intent are void.

Is there a regular publication about regulations that are being proposed?

Yes, there are two from DEQ and one from the Office of the State Register.

DEQ offers:

  1. A monthly electronic notification system for proposed rules, final rules, potpourri notices, and emergency rules published in the Louisiana Register. There is no charge for this service. To sign up for this electronic notification, go to ListServ
  2. A monthly mail out which includes the Notice of Intent and the Fiscal and Economic Impact Statement for each newly-proposed regulation. To receive this mail out, send your name and address to DEQ - Regulation Development (RD), P. O. Box 4302, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4302, ATTN: Proposed Regulation Mailing List. There is no charge for this service.

The Office of the State Register offers:

  1. The Louisiana Register, published on the twentieth of each month. It contains the Notice of Intent, first page of Fiscal and Economic Impact Statement, and the proposed regulation. (Note: Exceptionally lengthy rules are not printed in the Louisiana Register.) It also includes final rules, emergency rules, and other items of interest to the public. For ordering information, contact the Office of the State Register at (225) 342-5015.
How do I get a copy of the proposed regulation?

DEQ sells copies of proposed regulations at the Baton Rouge headquarters after the Notice of Intent is published ($.25 per page or at cost). Contact RD at (225) 219-3985 for price information and ordering instructions.

Purchase the monthly Louisiana Register publication. With the exception of very lengthy regulations, all proposed regulations will appear in a monthly edition of this document.

Check the Internet for DEQ's website at: Regulation updates are found under  "Monthly Regulation Changes" and are listed by year.

Can I review the proposed regulation without buying it?

Yes, the proposed regulation is available for review at DEQ offices located throughout the state. The location of these offices can be found in the Notice of Intent. In addition, copies of proposed regulations may be downloaded from the Internet.

Who do I call for information about a proposed regulation?

Call DEQ's Regulation Development Section at (225) 219-3985.

When can I offer input or comments on a proposed regulation?

There are three times the public can submit their comments for consideration:

  1. Written comments are accepted by DEQ beginning on the twentieth of the month when the Notice of Intent appears in the Louisiana Register and ending seven days after the public hearing on the proposed regulation is held. This period lasts 42 to 47 days. (Regulations which are "fast-track," that is, identical to federal regulations, have a shorter comment period.) The comment period can be extended by the secretary of DEQ if deemed necessary;
  2. Written and verbal comments are accepted at the public hearing on the proposed rule; and
  3. Written comments may be submitted to the Legislative Oversight Committees after DEQ submits the Summary Report. Verbal testimony may also be provided to the Legislative Oversight Committees, if a hearing is held.
Any tips on how to comment effectively?

  • Be sure to explain why you disagree or agree.
  • Identify who you are and how or why the regulation affects you.
  • Be direct in your comment.
  • Offer alternatives, compromise solutions, and specific language for your suggested changes.
  • Type your comments, if possible.
  • Indicate the specific rulemaking involved and refer to the DEQ identifier number (log#) listed on all rulemaking documents.
  • Be sure to include your name and address.

How do I submit my comments to DEQ?

One of four ways:

  1. Written comments should be delivered to the Regulation Development Section in such a way that they arrive and are date-stamped no later than 4:30 p.m. on the final day of the comment period.
  2. Verbal comments can be offered at the public hearing. Verbal comments are entered into an official hearing transcript. Written copies of the verbal comments are requested, but not required.
  3. Comments submitted by facsimile or email before the comment period deadline are acceptable.
  4. Email transmittals should include comments in the body of the email or as Windows-compatible files.

If you submitted written or oral comments to DEQ, a copy of the Summary Report will be mailed to you at or near the same time the report is submitted to the Legislative Oversight Committees. The Summary Report includes the Comment Summary and Response document, including concise statements reviewing the pros and cons of adopting individual or topical comments, and the proposed regulation if DEQ has made changes to the regulation as a result of the comments received. The changes to the regulation will be highlighted for easy identification.

Where do I get copies of the final regulations?

Final regulations are available from DEQ as part of the Environmental Regulatory Code (ERC). The ERC is divided into Parts representing major program areas, (e.g., Part V - Hazardous Waste, Part III - Air Quality). The ERC is available in hard copy or on DEQ's website, under "Rules and Regulations", then "ERC - LAC Title 33". Final rules are also available online under "Rules and Regulations" at "Monthly Regulation Changes". Contact RD at (225) 219-3985 for more information. Final regulations are also available from the Office of the State Register as part of the Louisiana Administrative Code. Contact (225) 342-5015 for more information.

What happens if I feel the rule should be contested later?

According to the Administrative Procedure Act, there is a two-year window to contest a promulgated regulation. Contact RD regarding the procedure for contesting a rule.

What is the difference between regular rulemaking and emergency rules?

Emergency rules must meet a specific set of criteria and are enforceable for a restricted and designated period of time. When that period expires, the regulation is null.

Can someone from the general public request a rule be established by the agency?

Yes, this process is called petitioning for rulemaking. Any interested person may petition the DEQ in writing to issue, amend, or rescind any regulation. LAC 33:I.Chapter 9 addresses general requirements for petitions requesting rulemaking.

How will I know if and how DEQ has addressed my comments?

If you made oral or written comments, you will receive a letter by mail, which includes the response to comments.