202 FW 6
Composition and Content of Notices


April 12, 2010

Series: Administrative Procedure

Part 202: The Federal Register

Originating Office: Division of Policy and Directives Management



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6.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter expands on the guidance provided in the Office of the Federal Register’s (OFR) Document Drafting Handbook about how to write a Federal Register (FR) notice and what it should include.


6.2 What are the different parts of a notice? A FR notice generally consists of several parts, including the billing code, headings, text, and signature block.


A. Billing code. FR billing codes are unique to each Federal agency. These codes tell the Government Printing Office (GPO) which agency to charge for printing services in the FR. When you submit a document to OFR, put 4310-55 at the top of your document, as shown in Figure 6–1.


B. Headings. OFR specifies the headings that we must use in FR documents. Our FR document headings must include the separate lines shown in Figure 6-1, and they must be in this order.


                                      Figure 6-1 Headings



(1) Notice tracking number: Get a tracking number from the Division of Policy and Directives Management (PDM). The notice tracking number is made up of a series of letters and numbers with hyphens in between. Put this number-and-letter combination in brackets (e.g., [FWS–R–IA–2009–N095]).


(2) Program accounting and ABC codes: Get these numbers from your program’s administrative officer. PDM uses these numbers to bill the programs for the cost of publishing their FR documents. Put these codes in brackets.


(3) Do not use any punctuation at the end of any of these headings.


C. Text. Following the headings, you explain the basis and purpose of the notice. OFR prefers that you use all of the same captions as those shown in Figure 6-2 in the order in which they appear. You may not alter these captions. The text following the captions must end in a period (see Figure 6–2).


                     Figure 6-2 Preamble Captions




(1) AGENCY: In this area, put the following: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.


(2) ACTION: This caption describes the type of document. Consult the Document Drafting Handbook for appropriate text. An example of an ACTION line is “Notice; request for comments.”


(3) SUMMARY: Keep this section brief. The summary should answer only the following questions: What action is being taken? Why is this action necessary? What is the intended effect of this action? The SUMMARY should not prove a point or provide detailed supporting information. That information belongs in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Do not put references to the United States Code or the Code of Federal Regulations in the SUMMARY.


(4) DATES: Consult the Document Drafting Handbook for information.


(5) ADDRESSES: OFR prefers that this caption includes no more than four addresses. Keep this section as brief as possible. If you have more than four addresses, put them under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Put detailed information about electronic filing of comments in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Do not include any dates.


(6) FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: A name and telephone number are all that is necessary.


(7) SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: You should put all explanatory information in this section. Provide the legal authority for the notice. If appropriate, you should also include information on filing and reviewing public comments. All notices that request comments must use the language in Figure 6-3.


Figure 6-3 Required Language for Public Availability of Comments



6.3. How does a notice document differ from a rulemaking document? Notices provide information of public interest. They do not contain regulatory text, do not have general applicability and usually do not have legal effect, and do not affect a previous rulemaking document (see 202 FW 1).


A. Publication. OFR publishes notices in the ”Notices“ section of the FR. They follow the same format for headings and have the same general requirements for the preamble as rulemaking documents. (The exception to this rule is notices announcing findings on petitions under the Endangered Species Act. These documents have a CFR citation heading and publish in the “Proposed Rules” section of the Federal Register.) Consult the Document Drafting Handbook for more information.


B. Purpose. You may use notices in the FR to announce a meeting or the availability of documents unless the announcement is related to a proposed rule. You should publish announcements related to proposed rules in the “Proposed Rules” section of the FR with the same RIN and subject heading as the proposed rule (e.g., the ACTION line would say, “ACTION: Proposed rule; meeting announcement.”).


6.4 What does the Office of the Federal Register require when I submit documents for publication? OFR requires that you:


A. Double-space the document and print it on plain white paper with the left margin at 1½ inches and all other margins at 1 inch.


B. Put page numbers in the bottom center, top center, or upper right corner of each page.


C. Prepare all text in accordance with the GPO Style Manual.


D. Print or type the name and title of the person who signed the document beneath the signature on the hardcopy document. Also, type the signer’s name in the electronic file. The OFR will not accept a document signed for someone else, nor will OFR accept a document that does not have the printed/typed name and title of the person who signed the document. Prepare the signature page of the document using the guidelines in 202 FW 3.5D. (For more information about who signs notices, see 202 FW 7.)


E. Submit three original signed copies or one original signed copy and two certified copies to OFR. See 202 FW 4 for information about certifying copies.


F.  If the document has XML tagging, see 202 FW 3, Exhibits 2 and 3, because the requirements are slightly different.  XML tagging reduces printing costs.



For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Policy and Directives Management.


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