Laws, Rules and Policies: Introduction to the ADEQ Rulemaking Process

The Seven Basic Steps in the Regular Rulemaking Process

  1. Docket opening - ADEQ has published a Notice of Docket Opening in the Arizona Administrative Register, to notify interested parties that the department is considering changes to the referenced rules.
  2. Proposed rulemaking - ADEQ has published a proposed rule - proposed additions, deletions or changes to Department rules - in the Arizona Administrative Register.
  3. Oral Proceedings - The formal public hearing(s) on a proposed rule that may occur prior to close of the public comment period. Information on oral proceedings is published in the Arizona Administrative Register.
  4. Comment period - The formal public comment period that occurs once a rule is proposed. The closing date of a comment period is published in the Arizona Administrative Register.
  5. Submitted to GRRC - ADEQ filed a specific rulemaking with the Governor's Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) for consideration.
  6. Approved by GRRC - GRRC completed its review and approved the rulemaking.
  7. Effective date - The rulemaking has been filed with the secretary of state. The effective date is the date of filing, or a later date if one is specified in the rulemaking.

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Emergency, Expedited and Exempt Rulemakings

These alternative processes are available only if specifically authorized by statute. Each process dispenses with one or more elements of the regular public notice and comment requirements.

Emergency rules - These are exempt from the requirement to publish a notice of docket opening or proposed rulemaking. They are approved by the attorney general rather than GRRC. Emergency rules are only permitted if specific statutory criteria are met. These include protection of the public health, safety or welfare; compliance with deadlines in amendments to laws governing ADEQ or federal programs; avoiding violation of federal or state laws or regulations; and several other criteria. Emergency rules are effective for 180 days (renewable once). A.R.S. § 41-1026.

Expedited rules - Rules that meet statutory criteria are eligible for a Notice of Expedited Rulemaking under A.R.S. 41-1027, but an exception from EO 2015-01 and a public hearing under A.R.S. 49-425 are still required. 

Exempt rules - These are exempted by statute from the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, are governed by the specific requirements of their enabling statutes, and may be subject to approval by GRRC, the attorney general or neither.

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Opportunities for Public Involvement in the Rulemaking Process

Commenting on ADEQ Rules - Comments are statements, arguments, suggested rule language, data, views or other observations submitted to a state agency regarding an existing or proposed rule. Formal comments are written or oral comments on proposed rules that are submitted during the official public comment period for a particular rulemaking. They become part of the official record of the rulemaking to which an agency must respond when adopting a final rule.

ADEQ suggests that after sending an e-mail comment, the commenter also submit the comment by hand or mail before the comment period expires. During the formal comment period, submit comments in accordance with instructions provided in the relevant rulemaking notices published in the Arizona Administrative Register . This way, a commenter will be assured that ADEQ will analyze and respond to the comment before submitting a rule to the GRRC for review and approval. Informal comments may be made by e-mail. The most effective way to do this is to address your e-mail comments to the ADEQ contact person identified in a rulemaking notice in the Arizona Administrative Register or the contact person in the rule capsule.

Before a rule is proposed - In order to find out about rulemakings in process, a person can check the ADEQ web site, watch the Arizona Administrative Register for docket openings, contact agency program personnel or use another method. Each rulemaking notice contains the name of a contact person. Attend workshops or public meetings if scheduled and obtain and review drafts of rules if available.

After a rule is proposed - Obtain and review a copy of the proposed rulemaking. Written comments must be made during the official comment period. Oral comments may be made at public proceedings. If no oral proceeding is scheduled, the department will schedule one if you make a written request.

Prior to submitting its final rules in a Notice of Final Rulemaking, ADEQ must discuss, analyze and respond to formal written and oral comments received during the formal comment period. ADEQ then transmits the proposed rulemaking to the Governor's Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) for review. GRRC reviews the rule package and decides whether to approve the rule or return the rule to the agency for further consideration. After the rulemaking is submitted to GRRC for review, you may send written comments to GRRC or speak at the meeting where GRRC considers the rulemaking. GRRC may receive comment and may hold a public hearing on the proposed rule prior to making a decision. If you plan on making oral comments at a GRRC meeting, you should obtain a copy of the final rulemaking as it is submitted to GRRC, along with GRRC staff comments, prior to the meeting. View the agendas for the monthly meetings.

After a rule becomes effective - You may comment on the department's existing rules at any time; the most effective way to comment on existing rules is to put the comment in writing, identifying the rule or rules at issue and address your comment to the specific program, office or contact person within ADEQ that administers the rule. You may petition the department at any time to initiate a rulemaking to add, change or repeal rules.

ADEQ is required to maintain a record of all written comments on its rules, and to respond to them as part of its five-year review report (all rules must be reviewed by the department every five years.) Five-year review reports are submitted to the GRRC, which may approve the report or return it to the agency for reconsideration. The agency's report must contain an analysis of the following five points:

  • The rule's effectiveness in achieving its objectives, including a summary of any available data supporting the conclusions reached.
  • Written criticisms of the rule received during the previous five years.
  • Authorization of the rule by existing statutes.
  • Whether the rule is consistent with other rules adopted by the agency, current agency enforcement policy and current agency views concerning the wisdom of the rule.
  • The estimated economic, small business and consumer impact of the rules as compared to the economic, small business and consumer impact statement prepared on the last adoption of the rules.

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Rulemaking Terminology

To assist you in navigating the capsules of rule information, the following definitions and explanations are provided:

  • A.A.C. - Arizona Administrative Code
  • A.A.R. - Arizona Administrative Register
  • A.R.S. - Arizona Revised Statutes
  • Draft rule - A rule that has not been formally proposed, but is made available to the public to provide a basis for informal public comment and input (also referred to as a strawman rule)
  • GRRC - Governor's Regulatory Review Council. GRRC is the council responsible for reviewing administrative rules for consistency with various statutory criteria. The council meets monthly to approve rule packages and five-year review reports, and to conduct other business periodically.

See Also:

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