5/20/2014

PRC Adopts A Fast Track Process For Advisory Opinions On Nationwide Service Changes

Washington, DC – Today the Postal Regulatory Commission introduced modernized rules to respond to Postal Service requests for Advisory Opinions on major changes to postal services. Under these new rules, the Commission would seek to issue future advisory opinions in 90 days or less while still meeting the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. The Commission will balance the expedited review of such requests with opportunities that continue to ensure meaningful public participation.

The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 requires the Postal Service to file a request with the Commission for an Advisory Opinion on major changes to postal services within a “reasonable” time period before instituting the changes, 39 U.S.C. 3661. Under the new rules, the Commission self-imposes a 90-day time frame from the date the Postal Service files its request for issuance of an Advisory Opinion. Due process is preserved by providing the public an opportunity to fully participate, ask questions, and provide comments.

Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway said the new rules are one of several processes the Commission is undertaking to improve the efficiency of its regulatory framework. “The Commission recognizes that the Postal Service has had to make swift adjustments to its mail network to modernize and adjust its operations to more fully reflect the needs of the nation in the 21st Century. By the Service’s own acknowledgement, the Advisory Opinion process is important to the way they make those changes. We have performed due diligence by seeking public comment before implementing these new rules; and we believe 90 days is a reasonable time frame for the Commission to hear from the public, address their concerns, and issue an opinion that allows the Postal Service to adjust its plans in accordance with our advice.”

Commission Order No. 2080 outlines the final rules of procedure for N-cases. The rules will take effect 30 days after publication of the Commission’s order in the Federal Register.