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 The requirement of notice and a fair opportunity to be heard is basic to administrative law. See 1 K. Davis, Administrative Law Treatise § 6.1 at 450 (2d ed. 1978). Section 4 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires that the notice in the Federal Register of a proposed rulemaking contain 'either the terms or substance of the proposed rule of a description of the subjects and issues involved.' 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)(3) (1982). The purpose of the notice-and-comment procedure is both 'to allow the agency to benefit from the experience and input of the parties who file comments . . . and to see to it that the agency maintains a flexible and open-minded attitude towards its own rules.' National Tour Brokers Ass'n v. United States, 192 U.S. App. D.C. 287, 591 F.2d 896, 902 (D.C. Cir. 1978). The notice-and-comment procedure encourages public participation in the administrative process and educates the agency, thereby helping to ensure informed agency decisionmaking. Spartan Radiocasting Co. v. FCC, 619 F.2d 314, 321 (4th Cir. 1980); BASF Wyandotte Corp. v. Costle, 598 F.2d 637, 642 (1st Cir. 1979), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1096, 100 S. Ct. 1063, 62 L. Ed. ...

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