(a) This section shall apply to:
(1) Notices of proposed rulemaking;
(2) Interim final rules;
(3) Advance notices of proposed rulemaking; and
(4) Any other published notice that solicits, or affords interested members of the public an opportunity to submit, written views with respect to any proposed action relating to any program administered in the Department regardless of the fact that the issuance of a rule may not be contemplated.
(b) Each notice identified in paragraph (a) of this section shall indicate the procedure to be followed with respect to the notice, unless the procedure is prescribed by statute or by published rule of the Department. Each notice shall contain a statement that advises the public of the policy regarding the availability of written submissions by indicating whether paragraph (c), (d), or (e) of this section is applicable to written submissions made pursuant to the notice.
(c) All written submissions made pursuant to the notice shall be made available for public inspection at times and places and in a manner convenient to the public business.
(1) Any written submission, pursuant to a notice, may be held confidential if the person making the submission requests that the submission be held confidential, the person making the submission has shown that the written submission may be withheld under the Freedom of Information Act, and the Department official authorized to issue the notice determines that the submission may be withheld under the Freedom of Information Act.
(2) If a request is made in accordance with paragraph (d)(1) of this section for confidential treatment of a written submission, the person making the request shall be informed promptly in the event the request is denied and afforded an opportunity to withdraw the submission.
(3) If a determination is made to grant a request for confidential treatment under paragraph (d)(1) of this section, a statement of the specific basis for the determination that will not be susceptible of identifying the person making the request will be made available for public inspection.
(e) If the subject of the notice is such that meaningful submissions cannot be expected unless they disclose information that may be withheld under the Freedom of Information Act, the notice shall so indicate and contain a statement that written submissions pursuant to the notice will be treated as confidential and withheld under the Freedom of Information Act. Provided, That the policy regarding availability of written submissions set forth in this paragraph may only be used with the prior approval of the Secretary, or the Under Secretary or Assistant Secretary that administers the program that is the subject of the notice.
[60 FR 66480, Dec. 22, 1995]