The Department of Energy today announced that it has issued a new rule standardizing how private parties applying for DOE assistance should submit trade secrets and other confidential business information. The new rule will give applicants greater assurance that their confidential business information will not be inadvertently disclosed, while enabling the Department to respond more quickly to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Until now, different DOE programs have had different rules for how to submit such information. In order to make the process more efficient, the Department in March proposed a new rule adopting a common approach across various assistance programs. The Department’s proposal, modeled on procedures used by the Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, suggested establishing a standard practice asking applicants to mark in advance the information they believe to be confidential.

The Department is now adopting the proposed rule as originally set forth in the March notice of proposed rulemaking. The new rule is available here and will be effective 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. In addition, a brief summary of the rule is available here.