Federal Register Bulletin Newsletter April 2022
Office of the Federal Register (OFR)
Continuity of Operations (COOP)Guidance to Agencies
Continuity of Operations: Washington DC-area Situation Affecting OFR and GPO
If the OFR physical office or Government Publishing Office (GPO) building at 7 G Street, NW is destroyed, unsafe, or without power, and OFR cannot obtain a comparable office accessible to agencies, the OFR will relocate to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)’s COOP site (near Cumberland, MD. OFR email addresses ending in “@gpo.gov” and “@nara.gov” will continue to function.
The NARA/OFR COOP site is located at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) in Rocket Center, WV. The facility is operated by Alliant Techsystems (ATK), for the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). The NARA/OFR COOP site is approximately 145 miles from downtown Washington, DC.
As soon as possible after the start of a COOP event, continuing until the end of the event, OFR will notify agencies and the public of its current operating status by:
- emailing (and faxing if needed) Federal Register liaison officers and COOP contacts;
- posting to its websites —
- posting to the GPO website (www.gpo.gov), and
- using NARA press releases.
Note: Under pandemic or similar conditions, OFR and GPO will not relocate but will continue operations at G Street by reducing on-site staff and increasing telework.
COOP Document Submission Requirements and Policy
In most COOP situations, all statutes and regulations concerning publication, as well as OFR document drafting requirements, remain in place. Agencies using the webportal (webportal.fedreg.gov/) to submit electronically-signed Word files should continue to do so. Agencies transmitting original paper documents with a pen-and-ink (wet) signature must continue to provide the original signed documents with two certified copies (or three duplicate original documents) along with the Word file on disc and certification letter. Agencies may also opt into OFR’s pilot for certified digital copies and provide one paper original with the Word file and electronically-certified duplicates and certification letter on disc.
Depending on the nature and duration of the emergency, OFR will prioritize the publication of documents with preference given to those relating to essential governmental functions. Agencies may be advised not to transmit non-essential notices and proposed rules until normal operations resume.
Continuity of Government (COG): National Security Emergency Affecting OFR and GPO
If an attack or threat of attack on the continental United States severely affects Federal Register operations, the President may declare a national security emergency and activate the Emergency Federal Register (EFR) system in place of the daily Federal Register. See 44 U.S.C. 1505(c) and E.O. 12656. The purpose of the EFR is to preserve the rule of law and a constitutional form of government, as per NSPD-51/HSPD-20. The OFR would continue to carry out its basic functions at the Rocket Center, WV COOP site (above), or at alternate locations (classified). Agencies would be informed of the status of the emergency publication system through pre-established COOP/COG channels.
Note: The EFR can only be activated under extreme national security conditions, and only the President may authorize suspension of the regular Federal Register publication system.
EFR Documents and Procedures
In an order activating the EFR system, the President specifies how the alternate publication system is to function and may authorize procedural modifications. Only those documents having the highest national priority will be published in the EFR. GPO may not be involved.
The OFR would activate a public web site (https://Emergency-Federal-Register.gov, currently redirecting to the OFR website when not activated) to provide legal notice of Presidential actions, administrative rules and orders, and Acts of Congress. If the EFR cannot be updated online, copies of the EFR also would be distributed to agency COOP sites (to the extent known) and the media (to provide constructive legal notice).
Directions to the NARA/OFR COOP Site in Rocket Center, WV:
From the Washington Beltway:
Take I-270 W toward Frederick
Take exit 32 to merge onto I-70 W toward Hagerstown
Take exit 1A on the left to merge onto I-68 W/US-40 W toward Cumberland
Take exit 42 for Greene St/US-220 S
Turn left at MD-956/Patriot Pkwy (signs for M
Continue on WV-956 410 ft to Allegany Ballistics Lab
Turn left into plant entrance and proceed to security check point