In accordance with the memorandum of Jan. 20, 2001, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled “Regulatory Review Plan,” published in the Federal Register on Jan. 24, 2001, a decision has been made to further temporarily delay for 120 days the effective date of the rule entitled Food Stamp Program: Revisions to the Retail Food Store Definition and Program Authorization Guidance, published in the Federal Register on Jan. 12, 2001, 66 FR 2795. The rule implements provisions of the Food Stamp Program Improvements Act of 1994 to revise the criteria for eligibility of firms to participate in the Food Stamp Program as retail food stores, and to provide for notification to such firms of eligibility criteria for participation.
The original effective date of this rule, Feb. 12, 2001, was temporarily delayed for 60 days, to April 13, 2001, by a final rule published in the Federal Register on Feb. 5, 2001, 66 FR 8885. To the extent that 5 USC section 553 applies to this action, it is exempt from notice and comment because it constitutes a rule of procedure under 5 USC section 553(b)(A). Alternatively, the Department's implementation of this rule without opportunity for public comment, effective immediately upon publication today in the Federal Register, is based on the good cause exceptions in 5 USC section 553(b)(B) and 553(d)(3). Seeking public comment is impracticable, unnecessary and contrary to the public interest.
The additional 120 day delay in the effective date is necessary to give Department officials the opportunity for further review and consideration of new regulations, consistent with the Assistant to the President's memorandum on Jan. 20, 2001. Given the imminence of the effective date, seeking prior public comment on this temporary delay would have been impractical, as well as contrary to the public interest in the orderly promulgation and implementation of regulations. The imminence of the effective date is also good cause for making this rule effective upon publication.