Most people don’t realize that everyone has a right to participate in rulemaking--and the agency has a responsibility to pay attention!
To create a new regulation (also called a "rule"), the agency must usually announce what it's proposing and tell people
The agency must give people time (usually, 60 days) to comment on its proposal. (For more details about the process, see What is rulemaking?)
Anyone can comment on the proposal or on the information the agency is using. You don’t even have to be a citizen or eligible to vote. The agency has to take public comments seriously. It must read them and think about them before making its final decision.
If the agency decides to go ahead with the new regulation (either as originally proposed or with some changes) it must explain its reasons. In this explanation, it has to
If someone sues the agency about the new regulation, the courts will look at the explanation to be sure the agency really did take the comments seriously. If not, the courts can send the rule back to the agency for more work.
So, rulemaking is one of the few government processes where a single individual can make a difference in what the federal government decides to do.more
Making effective comments in a rulemaking takes work. See What is effective commenting? But if the agency is proposing something that really matters to you, then doing the work can be worth it. In the end, the agency may not make the decision you want it to. But it has to pay attention to what you think. And usually you will be able to tell from its explanation why it didn't go along with your ideas or position.
You have a voice in this process. Use it!