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The APA provides that 'rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice' are exempt from the general notice and comment requirements of section 553. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 553(b)(A) (1988). Courts have struggled with the distinction between 'substantive' and 'procedural' rules. Oft-cited formulation holds that the 'critical feature' of the procedural exception 'is that it covers agency actions that do not themselves alter the rights or interests of parties, although it may alter the manner in which the parties present themselves or their viewpoints to the agency.' Batterton v. Marshall, 648 F.2d 694, 707 (D.C.Cir.1980). See also American Hosp. Ass'n v. Bowen, 834 F.2d 1037, 1047 (D.C.Cir.1987); Neighborhood TV Co. v. FCC, 742 F.2d 629, 637 (D.C.Cir.1984). 'Of course, procedure impacts on outcomes and thus can virtually always be described as affecting substance, but to pursue that line of analysis results in the obliteration of the distinction that Congress demanded.' Air Transport Ass'n of Am. v. Department of Transp., 900 F.2d 369, 383 (D.C.Cir.1990) (Silberman, J., dissenting). See also American Hosp. Ass'n, 834 F.2d at 1047; Neighborhood TV, 742 F.2d at 637. The issue, therefore, 'is one of degree,' and a court's task is to identify which ...

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