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The District of Columbia Circuit, sitting en banc, has set forth the general principles to be used to determine whether a rule is interpretive, and, therefore, exempt from APA's notice and comment requirements. The 'starting point' of the analysis is the agency's characterization of the rule. General Motors Corp. v. Ruckleshaus, 742 F.2d 1561, 1565 (D.C.Cir.1984) (en banc), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1074, 105 S.Ct. 2153, 85 L.Ed.2d 509 (1985); United Technologies Corp. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 821 F.2d 714, 718 (D.C.Cir.1987). The agency's characterization is not dispositive, but is a relevant factor. United Technologies, 821 F.2d at 718; General Motors, 742 F.2d at 1565; see also Friedrich v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, 894 F.2d 829, 834-35 (6th Cir.) (noting Sixth Circuit's adoption of principles set out in General Motors ), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 59, 112 L.Ed.2d 34 (1990).


After considering the agency's characterization, the General Motors court outlined the more general distinction between interpretive and legislative rules: An interpretive rule simply states what the administrative agency thinks the [underlying] statute means, and only reminds affected parties of existing duties. On the other hand, if by its ...

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