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 In order for a regulation to have the 'force and effect of law,' it must have certain substantive characteristics and be the product of certain procedural requisites. The central distinction among agency regulations found in the APA is that between 'substantive rules,' on the one hand, and 'interpretive rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice,' on the other. 

A 'substantive rule' is not defined in the APA, and other authoritative sources essentially offer definitions by negative inference. Neither the House nor Senate Report attempted to expound on the distinction. In prior cases, we have given some weight to the Attorney General's Manual on the Administrative Procedure Act (1947), since the Justice Department was heavily involved in the legislative process that resulted in the Act's enactment in 1946. See Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 435 U. S. 519, 435 U. S. 546 (1978); Power Reactor Co. v. Electricians, 367 U. S. 396, 367 U. S. 408 (1961); United States v. Zucca, 351 U. S. 91, 351 U. S. 96 (1956).


The Manual refers to substantive rules as rules that 'implement' the statute. ...

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