[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 27 (Thursday, February 9, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 6676-6681]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-2931]


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POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION

39 CFR Parts 3001 and 3025

[Order No. 1171; Docket No. RM2011-13]


Appeals of Post Office Closings

AGENCY: Postal Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Commission is adopting a new set of rules for appeals of 
post office closings. The new rules are intended to update existing 
rules; foster clarity and simplicity, especially in terms of 
requirements that apply to the public; and expedite the appeal process. 
The rules incorporate some, but not all, of the proposed rules, as well 
as some commenters' suggestions. Some proposals have been deferred to 
allow time for further consideration. Adoption of a new set of rules 
will improve the post office closing appeal process.

DATES: Effective Date: March 12, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, 
at 202-789-6820.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulatory history: 76 FR 54179 (August 31, 
2011) and 76 FR 59085 (September 23, 2011).

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Unopposed Rules
III. Suggested Improvements
IV. Easily Resolved Opposition
V. Substantial Opposition--Consideration Deferred

I. Introduction

    On August 18, 2011, the Commission issued a notice of proposed 
rulemaking.\1\ That notice was intended, in part, to simplify the rules 
applicable to appeals of post office closings and consolidations and to 
make the rules consistent with current practice. See Order No. 814 at 
1-3. On August 25, 2011, the Commission issued a supplemental notice 
proposing to remove from the current rules the requirement that the 
Commission publish notice of appeals in the Federal Register.\2\
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    \1\ Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Appeals of Postal 
Service Determinations to Close or Consolidate Post Offices, August 
18, 2011 (Order No. 814).
    \2\ Supplemental Notice Regarding Proposed Rules Governing 
Appeals, August 25, 2011 (Order No. 823).
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    Some of the proposed rules generated opposition. Others were 
relatively uncontroversial. The Commission finds that it will be 
beneficial to promptly adopt rules that were, for the most part, 
unopposed. The Commission will address the other proposed rules in a 
later order. This order is organized as follows. First, proposed rules 
that generated no opposition are described and adopted. Next, proposed 
rules that generated suggestions for improvement are described, 
modified as appropriate, and adopted or deferred for further 
consideration. Third, proposed rules that generated controversy that is 
easily resolved are described, modified as appropriate, and adopted. 
Finally, proposed rules that generated significant opposition that 
requires additional research and analysis are described and deferred to 
a later date.

II. Unopposed Rules

    Rules of general applicability. The Commission has proposed 
amendments to rules of practice 9, 10, 12, and 17 in 39 CFR part 3001, 
subpart A. These amendments are intended to ease requirements for 
persons who file appeals of post office closings or consolidations but 
who do not or cannot

[[Page 6677]]

use the Internet. They also correct cross-references and remove the 
requirement to publish in the Federal Register notice of an appeal of a 
post office closing or consolidation. The Commission confirms that it 
will continue to publish on its Web site a notice of each appeal 
containing the applicable procedural schedule.\3\ The proposed 
amendments to rules 9, 10, 12, and 17 in 39 CFR part 3001, subpart A 
are unopposed and are adopted as proposed. The Commission also amends 
rule 3001.7(b) to replace the words ``Subpart H'' with ``Part 3025''. 
Rule 7(b) would be incorrect if not amended, which constitutes good 
cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) for not publishing proposed notice of 
this amendment.\4\
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    \3\ See Initial Comments of the United States Postal Service, 
October 3, 2011, at 25 (Postal Service Comments).
    \4\ Comments of the Public Representative, October 3, 2011, at 
7-8 (PR Comments).
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    Consolidation of appeals. Proposed rule 3025.12 explains that the 
Commission consolidates appeals relating to the same post office into a 
single docket. This rule is unopposed. Rule 3025.12 is adopted as 
proposed.
    Participant statement. Proposed rule 3025.40, which describes 
participant statements (Form 61), is unopposed. It is adopted as 
proposed.

III. Suggested Improvements

    Rules of general applicability. The Public Representative suggests 
a change to rule 3001.5(m) as well as changes to the list of rules of 
general applicability contained in proposed rule 3025.2(b).\5\ Rule 
5(m) defines the word ``Appellant.'' Proposed Part 3025 uses the word 
``Petitioner'' instead of ``Appellant.'' Rule 5(m) is hereby amended 
accordingly. Proposed rule 3025.2(b) makes rule 3001.11 applicable in 
appeal proceedings. Rule 11(b) refers to notices of intervention, which 
are no longer required under proposed part 3025. Interested persons may 
file comments without first intervening. Rule 11(g) concerns 
certificates of service for documents filed as hard copy. Amended rule 
12 provides that the Secretary will serve hard-copy documents filed by 
participants in appeals cases. There is thus no need to refer to rules 
11(b) and 11(g) in proposed rule 3025.2(b).
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    \5\ American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO Comments on Proposed 
Rules, October 5, 2011, at 2-4 (APWU Comments).
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    The Public Representative also suggests that participants in 
appeals be given 14 days to respond to Postal Service motions and 
briefs rather than the 7 days allowed by rule 3001.20(b) and proposed 
rule 3025.43. This is based on the expectation that many, if not most, 
participants will be corresponding with the Commission by mail rather 
than using the Internet. Seven days does appear to be inadequate. Most 
of the 7 days could easily be consumed in transit to and from a 
participant. However, the proposed rules are also intended to expedite 
Commission consideration of appeals. Order No. 814 at 5. A 14-day 
response time, especially for motions to dismiss, could necessitate 
revisions to the procedural schedule. Under the Public Representative's 
proposed change, responses to motions to dismiss would be due 14 days 
after their filing, while participant statements are due 20 days after 
the filing of such motions.
    Proposed rule 3025.41. Ten days will be allowed for the response to 
Postal Service motions and briefs.
    Definitions. The Public Representative suggests moving the 
definition of ``Petition for Review'' from proposed rule 3025.10(a) to 
the definitions section, proposed rule 3025.1. PR Comments at 6. That 
suggestion is adopted. The Public Representative also proposes 
additions to the definition of ``Petition for Review,'' such as 
permissible and impermissible modes of submission. This topic is 
covered in proposed rule 3025.11.
    Applicability. Rule 3025.2, as proposed, explains when the rules in 
part 3025 apply. It also sets out rules in part 3001 that apply to 
appeals. The Postal Service suggests changing the phrase ``wants to 
appeal'' in proposed rule 3025.2(a)(2) to ``appeals.'' Postal Service 
Comments at 2-7, 13-19, 21. This change is adopted.
    Petitions for Review. The Postal Service and the Public 
Representative suggest changes to proposed rule 3025.10. Postal Service 
Comments, Appendix at iv; PR Comments, Attachment A at 2-3. This rule 
explains what information must be included in a Petition for Review. 
The Public Representative suggests that a Petition for Review include a 
petitioner's phone number, the ZIP Code of the post office involved, 
and the final determination. The Postal Service suggests that a 
Petition for Review include the date on which the final determination 
was posted. One of the purposes of the proposed rules is to reduce the 
burden involved in filing an appeal. See Order No. 814 at 2. 
Consideration of these suggestions is deferred. Rule 3025.10 is adopted 
as proposed except for the addition of the word ``only'' between 
``appealed'' and ``by.'' This tracks the statutory requirement that a 
petitioner be served by the office to be closed or consolidated.
    Proposed rule 3025.11 explains how to submit a Petition for Review 
to the Commission. The Public Representative proposes changes to rule 
11. PR Comments, Attachment A at 3. The Public Representative proposes 
that the means of submission of appeals set out in rule 11 apply to all 
documents submitted by participants other than the Postal Service. Rule 
3025.11 is adopted as modified by the Public Representative.
    Rule 3025.13, as proposed, explains when a Petition for Review is 
considered timely. The statutory deadline for an appeal is 30 days from 
a final determination's being made available to patrons. The exact 
deadline depends on whether a petition is mailed, filed electronically, 
or delivered by someone other than the Postal Service. The Postal 
Service and the Public Representative suggest changing the event that 
triggers the running of the 30 days from the day the final 
determination is made available, to the date of posting of the final 
determination. Postal Service Comments, Appendix at v; PR Comments at 
3-4. The phrase ``made available'' is the statutory description. 
Consideration of this proposed change is deferred. Rule 13 is adopted 
as proposed.
    Record on review. Rule 3025.20, as proposed, describes the material 
that the Commission considers when reaching a decision on an appeal. 
Rules 20(a)(1) through (4) are adopted as proposed and designated as 
paragraph (a). The Postal Service objects to proposed rule 20(a)(5) and 
to the sentence that follows, both of which concern the Commission's 
treatment of factual matters. Postal Service Comments at 17-18, 21-22. 
Consideration of those proposals is deferred. The sentence in current 
rule 3001.112 that limits the record to all and only evidence 
considered by the Postal Service is retained as paragraph (b).
    Administrative record. Proposed rule 3025.21 requires the Postal 
Service to notify participants who do not use Filing Online when the 
administrative record is filed with the Commission. The Postal Service 
points out that the administrative record is available at affected post 
offices while a proposal to close is under consideration and when a 
final determination to close is under appeal. Id. at 26-27. The Postal 
Service suggests that the Commission include information on the 
location of administrative records in the orders establishing 
procedural schedules or in the letters transmitting Form 61 to 
participants. Id. at 27, n.18. Proposed rule 3025.21 is amended to make 
the

[[Page 6678]]

Secretary responsible for informing participants that the 
administrative record is available at the post office(s) where the 
final determination was posted.
    Posting of filings during appeal. Proposed rule 3025.22 requires 
the Postal Service to maintain for public inspection copies of all 
filings related to an appeal at the post office whose closure or 
consolidation is under review. If the post office is suspended, the 
filings are to be maintained at the nearest open post office. Also, the 
Postal Service is to notify participants by mail where the filings may 
be inspected. The Postal Service points out that its own regulations 
require posting the filings in the same locations where the 
administrative record is available--i.e., where the final determination 
was posted. Id. at 27. Rule 22 is amended to make the Secretary 
responsible for informing participants that all filings related to an 
appeal are available at the post office(s) where the final 
determination was posted.

IV. Easily Resolved Opposition

    Participation by others. For the most part, the Commission is 
deferring consideration of proposed rules that generated opposition. 
One exception is proposed rule 3025.14(a), which defines the class of 
persons who may participate in an appeal initiated by someone else. 
This proposed rule is the analog of current rule 3001.111(b).
    The purposes of rule 14(a), as proposed, are: (1) To remove the 
requirement for filing notices of intervention, and (2) to simplify 
language. The Postal Service reads proposed rule 14(a) as expanding the 
class of persons who may participate in an appeal. Postal Service 
Comments at 20 (as revised October 7, 2011). American Postal Workers 
Union (APWU) reads proposed rule 14 as narrowing the class of persons 
who may participate in an appeal.\6\ In addition to persons served by a 
post office to be closed or consolidated, current rule 111(b) allows 
``any other interested person, or any counsel, agent or other person 
authorized or recognized by the Postal Service as such interested 
person's representative or the representative of such interested 
person's recognized group, such as Postmasters'' to intervene in an 
appeal (emphasis added). Proposed rule 14(a) intended no change in the 
class of persons currently allowed to intervene. The language of 
current rule 3001.111(b) will be retained as rule 14(a).
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    \6\ See section 404(d)(5)--American Postal Workers Union, AFL-
CIO Comments on Proposed Rules, October 5, 2011, at 2-4 (APWU 
Comments).
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    Filing deadlines. Rules 3025.41 through 43, as proposed, set 
deadlines for participant statements, briefs, or comments. The Postal 
Service objects to categorizing participants as supporting either the 
Postal Service or the petitioner. It asks, ``[a]re participants 
supposed to decide what due date to use based on their alignment with 
or against the Postal Service regarding a particular issue, the 
ultimate issue, or some combination?'' Postal Service Comments at 23. 
The wording of these rules will be changed to categorize participants 
as either supporting or opposing a Commission order that the entire 
matter be returned to the Postal Service for further consideration.
    Rule 3025.14(b), as proposed, is also changed to categorize 
comments as supporting or opposing an order returning the matter for 
further consideration.\7\
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    \7\ See section 404(d)(5) (``The Commission may affirm the 
determination of the Postal Service or order that the entire matter 
be returned for further consideration, but the Commission may not 
modify the determination of the Postal Service.'')
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    Oral argument. The proposed rules do not include a provision for 
oral argument. As was explained in the notice of proposed rulemaking, 
the Commission has never held oral argument in an appeal proceeding. 
Order No. 814 at 6. Oral argument would also extend the time needed to 
decide an appeal, which the new rules are intended to shorten. See id. 
at 5. APWU requests preservation of the right to appeal in unusual 
situations. APWU Comments at 4. Participants in appeal proceedings may 
request oral argument or any other relief pursuant to rule 3001.21(a) 
(Motions) when circumstances warrant.

V. Substantial Opposition--Consideration Deferred

    Definitions. Rule 3025.1 (Definitions), as proposed, has been 
changed by removing definitions of the terms ``administrative record,'' 
``post office,'' and ``relocate'' and by adding the definition of 
``Petition for Review.'' Proposed rule 3025.1 defines ``administrative 
record'' as ``all documents and materials created by the Postal Service 
or made available by the public to the Postal Service for its review in 
anticipation of the action for which review is sought.'' It defines 
``post office'' as ``a Postal Service operated retail facility.'' It 
defines ``relocate'' to mean a situation in which ``the location of a 
post office within a community changes, but the total number of post 
offices within the community remains the same or increases.''
    The Postal Service objects to the definitions of ``administrative 
record'' and ``post office'' as overbroad and to the definition of 
``relocate'' as too narrow. Postal Service Comments at 2-7, 13-19, 21. 
Valpak objects to the definition of ``post office'' as overbroad.\8\ 
APWU objects to the definition of ``relocate'' as overbroad. APWU 
Comments at 1-2. Consideration of these proposed definitions is 
deferred.
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    \8\ Valpak Direct Marketing Systems, Inc. and Valpak Dealers' 
Association, Inc. Comments Regarding Proposed Rules Applicable to 
Appeals of Post Office Closings, October 3, 2011, at 4-5 (Valpak 
Comments).
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    Notice. Proposed rule 3025.3 requires the Postal Service to post 
notice of proposals and final determinations to close or consolidate a 
post office. It also requires the Postal Service to mail such notices 
to patrons of suspended offices. The Postal Service and Valpak object 
to this rule. They claim that the Commission has no authority to 
regulate Postal Service actions that occur before an appeal has been 
filed. Postal Service Comments at 7-11; Valpak Comments at 5-7. 
Consideration of proposed rule 3025.3 is deferred. Two sentences from 
current rule 3001.110 setting out existing notice requirements, with 
minor editorial corrections to accurately state statutory language are 
retained as rules 3025.3(a) through (b).
    Automatic suspension. Rule 3025.30, as proposed, would replace 
current rule 3001.114 and automatically suspend a final determination 
to close or consolidate a post office when a timely appeal is filed. 
The Postal Service and Valpak object to this proposed rule as ultra 
vires. Postal Service Comments at 11-13; Valpak Comments at 7-8. 
Consideration of this proposal is deferred. The language of current 
rule 3001.114 related to suspension pending review is retained as rule 
3025.30, except that a sentence referring to notices of intervention 
and a sentence referring to the filing of the record are deleted.
    It is ordered:
    1. Changes to part 3001 of title 39, chapter III, Code of Federal 
Regulations, as set forth below, are hereby adopted, effective 30 days 
after publication in the Federal Register.
    2. A new part 3025 of title 39, chapter III, Code of Federal 
Regulations, as set forth below, is hereby adopted, effective 30 days 
after publication in the Federal Register.
    3. The Secretary shall arrange for publication of this order in the 
Federal Register.

[[Page 6679]]

List of Subjects

39 CFR Part 3001

    Administrative practice and procedure, Freedom of information, 
Postal Service, Sunshine Act.

39 CFR Part 3025

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    By the Commission.

    Issued: January 25, 2012.
Ruth Ann Abrams,
Secretary.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Postal Regulatory 
Commission amends chapter III of title 39 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations as follows.

PART 3001--RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

0
1. The authority citation for part 3001 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 39 U.S.C. 404(d); 503; 504; 3661.

Subpart A--Rules of General Applicability

0
2. In Sec.  3001.5, revise paragraph (m) to read as follows:

Subpart A--Rules of General Applicability


Sec.  3001.5  Definitions.

* * * * *
    (m) Petitioner means a person who as permitted by 39 U.S.C. 404(b) 
appeals to the Commission a determination of the Postal Service to 
close or consolidate a post office.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  3001.7, revise paragraph (b) introductory text to read as 
follows:


Sec.  3001.7  Ex parte communications.

* * * * *
    (b) Prohibition. In any agency proceeding that is required to be 
conducted in accordance with section 556 of Title 5 or a proceeding 
conducted pursuant to part 3025 of this chapter except to the extent 
required for the disposition of ex parte matters as authorized by law:
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  3001.9, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  3001.9  Filing of documents.

    (a) Filing with the Commission. The filing of each written document 
required or authorized by these rules or any applicable statute, rule, 
regulation, or order of the Commission, or by direction of the 
presiding officer, shall be made using the Internet (Filing Online) 
pursuant to Sec.  3001.10(a) at the Commission's Web site (http://www.prc.gov), unless a waiver is obtained. If a waiver is obtained, a 
hard copy document may be filed either by mailing or by hand delivery 
to the Office of the Secretary, Postal Regulatory Commission, 901 New 
York Ave., NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20268-0001 during regular 
business hours on a date no later than that specified for such filing. 
The requirements of this section do not apply to participants other 
than the Postal Service in proceedings conducted pursuant to part 3025 
of this chapter.
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  3001.10, revise paragraph (b) and add new paragraph (d) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  3001.10  Form and number of copies of documents.

* * * * *
    (b) Hard copies. Each document filed in paper form must be produced 
on letter-size paper, 8 to 8\1/2\ inches wide by 10\1/2\ to 11 inches 
long, with left- and right-hand margins not less than 1 inch and other 
margins not less than .75 inches, except that tables, charts or special 
documents attached thereto may be larger if required, provided that 
they are folded to the size of the document to which they are attached. 
If the document is bound, it shall be bound on the left side. Copies of 
documents for filing and service must be printed from a text-based pdf 
version of the document, where possible. Otherwise, they may be 
reproduced by any duplicating process that produces clear and legible 
copies. Each person filing a hardcopy document with the Commission must 
provide an original and two fully conformed copies of the document 
required or permitted to be filed under this part, except for a 
document filed under seal, for which only the original and two (2) 
copies need be filed. The copies need not be signed but shall show the 
full name of the individual signing the original document and the 
certificate of service attached thereto.
* * * * *
    (d) Exception for appeals of post office closings and 
consolidations. The requirements of this section do not apply to 
participants other than the Postal Service in proceedings conducted 
pursuant to part 3025 of this chapter.

0
6. In Sec.  3001.12, add new paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  3001.12  Service of documents.

    (a) * * *
    (3) In proceedings conducted pursuant to part 3025 of this chapter, 
the Secretary will serve documents (except an administrative record) on 
participants who do not use Filing Online. Service will be by First-
Class Mail.
* * * * *

0
7. Revise Sec.  3001.17 to read as follows:


Sec.  3001.17  Notice of proceeding.

    (a) When issued. The Commission shall issue a notice of a 
proceeding to be determined on the record with an opportunity for any 
interested person to request a hearing whenever:
    (1) The Postal Service files a request with the Commission to issue 
an advisory opinion on a proposed change in the nature of postal 
services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or 
substantially nationwide basis;
    (2) The Commission in the exercise of its discretion determines 
that an opportunity for hearing should be provided with regard to a 
complaint filed pursuant to part 3030 of this chapter; or
    (3) The Commission in the exercise of its discretion determines it 
is appropriate.
    (b) Publication and service of notice. Each notice of proceeding 
shall be published in the Federal Register and served on the Postal 
Service, and the complainant in a complaint proceeding.
    (c) Contents of notice. The notice of a proceeding shall include 
the following:
    (1) The general nature of the proceeding involved in terms of 
categories listed in paragraph (a) of this section;
    (2) A reference to the legal authority under which the proceeding 
is to be conducted;
    (3) A concise description of proposals for changes in rates or 
fees, proposals for the establishment of or changes in the mail 
classification schedule, proposals for changes in the nature of postal 
services and, in the case of a complaint, an identification of the 
complainant and a concise description of the subject matter of the 
complaint;
    (4) The date by which notices of intervention and requests for 
hearing must be filed; and
    (5) Such other information as the Commission may desire to include

Subpart H--[Removed and Reserved]

0
8. Remove and reserve Subpart H, consisting of Sec. Sec.  3001.110 
through 3001.117.

0
9. Add part 3025, to read as follows:

[[Page 6680]]

PART 3025--RULES FOR APPEALS OF POSTAL SERVICE DETERMINATIONS TO 
CLOSE OR CONSOLIDATE POST OFFICES

Sec.
3025.1 Definitions.
3025.2 Applicability.
3025.3 Notice by the Postal Service.
3025.10 Starting an appeal.
3025.11 Submitting an appeal and other documents.
3025.12 Duplicate appeals.
3025.13 Deadlines for appeals.
3025.14 Participation by others.
3025.20 The record on review.
3025.21 Filing of the administrative record.
3025.22 Making documents available for inspection by the public.
3025.30 Suspension pending review.
3025.40 Participant statement.
3025.41 Due date for participant statement.
3025.42 Due date for Postal Service response.
3025.43 Due date for replies to the Postal Service.

    Authority: 39 U.S.C. 404(d).


Sec.  3025.1  Definitions.

    The following definitions apply in this part:
    (a) Final determination means the written determination and 
findings required by 39 U.S.C. 404(d)(3).
    (b) Petitioner means a person who files a Petition for Review.
    (c) Petition for Review means a written document that the 
Commission accepts as an appeal of a post office closing or 
consolidation.


Sec.  3025.2  Applicability.

    (a) The rules in this part apply when:
    (1) The Postal Service decides to close or consolidate a post 
office, and
    (2) A patron of that post office appeals the closing or 
consolidation.
    (b) The following sections in part 3001, subpart A of this chapter, 
apply to appeals of post office closings or consolidations: Sec. Sec.  
3001.1 through 3001.9 of this chapter; Sec.  3001.11(a) of this 
chapter, Sec.  3001.11(c) through (f) of this chapter; Sec. Sec.  
3001.12 through 3001.17 of this chapter; and Sec. Sec.  3001.21 and 
3001.22 of this chapter.
    (c) Answers to motions filed by the Postal Service are due within 
10 days. Sec.  3025.3 Notice by the Postal Service.
    (a) Pursuant to section 404(d) of title 39, United States Code, any 
decision to close or consolidate a post office must be preceded by 60 
days' notice to persons served by such post office, the opportunity for 
such persons to present their views, and a written determination based 
upon consideration of each of the factors listed in section 404(d)(2) 
of title 39, United States Code.
    (b) This notice must include a provision stating that, pursuant to 
section 404(d)(5) of title 39, United States Code, a final Postal 
Service determination to close or consolidate a post office may be 
appealed by any person served by such office to the Postal Regulatory 
Commission at 901 New York Avenue NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20268-
0001, within 30 days after such determination is made available to such 
person by the Postal Service.


Sec.  3025.10  Starting an appeal.

    (a) A Postal Service decision to close or consolidate a post office 
may be appealed only by a person served by that office. An appeal is 
commenced by submitting a Petition for Review to the Postal Regulatory 
Commission.
    (b) The Petition for Review must state that the person(s) 
submitting it is/are served by the post office that the Postal Service 
has decided to close or consolidate. The petition should include the 
name(s) and address(es) of the person(s) filing it and the name or 
location of the post office to be closed or consolidated. A petitioner 
may include other information deemed pertinent.


Sec.  3025.11  Submitting an appeal and other documents.

    Petitions for Review, comments, motions, answers, and other 
documents may be submitted by persons other than the Postal Service by 
mail, electronically through the Commission's Web site, http://www.prc.gov, or by delivery to the Commission's offices at 901 New York 
Avenue NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20268-0001.


Sec.  3025.12  Duplicate appeals.

    If the Commission receives more than one Petition for Review of the 
same post office closing or consolidation, the petitions will be 
considered in a single docket.


Sec.  3025.13  Deadlines for appeals.

    (a) In general. If the Postal Service has issued a final 
determination to close or consolidate a post office, an appeal is due 
within 30 days of the final determination being made available in 
conformance with Sec.  3025.3(b).
    (b) Appeals sent by mail. If sent by mail, a Petition for Review 
must be postmarked no later than 30 days after the final determination 
has been made available.
    (c) Appeals sent by other physical delivery. If sent by some other 
form of physical delivery, a Petition for Review must be received in 
the Commission's Docket Section no later than 4:30 p.m., eastern time, 
on the 30th day after the final determination has been made available.
    (d) Appeals sent electronically. If submitted electronically, a 
Petition for Review must be received in the Commission's Docket Section 
no later than 4:30 p.m., eastern time, on the 30th day after the final 
determination has been made available.


Sec.  3025.14  Participation by others.

    (a) A person served by the post office to be closed or consolidated 
pursuant to the Postal Service written determination under review who 
desires to intervene in the proceeding, or any other interested person, 
or any counsel, agent, or other person authorized or recognized by the 
Postal Service as such interested person's representative or the 
representative of such interested person's recognized group, such as 
Postmasters, may participate in an appeal by sending written comments 
to the Postal Regulatory Commission in the manner described in Sec.  
3025.11.
    (b) Persons may submit comments supporting or opposing a Commission 
order returning the entire matter to the Postal Service for further 
consideration. Comments must be filed in accordance with the deadlines 
established in Sec. Sec.  3025.41 through 3025.43. Commenters may use 
PRC Form 61, which is available on the Commission's Web site, http://www.prc.gov.


Sec.  3025.20  The record on review.

    (a) The record on review includes:
    (1) The final determination;
    (2) The notices to persons served by the post office to be closed 
or consolidated;
    (3) The administrative record; and
    (4) All documents submitted in the appeal proceeding.
    (b) The record shall contain all evidence considered by the Postal 
Service in making its determination and shall contain no evidence not 
previously considered by the Postal Service.


Sec.  3025.21  Filing of the administrative record.

    The Postal Service shall file the administrative record within 10 
days of the date of posting of a Petition for Review on the 
Commission's Web site. The Commission may alter this time for good 
cause. The Secretary will notify participants that they may view the 
administrative record at post offices where the final determination was 
posted.


Sec.  3025.22  Making documents available for inspection by the public.

    Copies of all filings (including the administrative record) related 
to an appeal shall be available for public inspection at the post 
offices where the

[[Page 6681]]

final determination was posted. The Secretary will notify participants 
that they may view copies of filings at post offices where the final 
determination was posted.


Sec.  3025.30  Suspension pending review.

    (a) Application. Application for suspension of a determination of 
the Postal Service to close or consolidate any post office pending the 
outcome of an appeal to the Postal Regulatory Commission shall be made 
at the time of the filing of a Petition for Review. The application 
shall show the reasons for the relief requested and the facts relied 
upon, and if the facts are subject to dispute the application shall be 
supported by affidavits or other sworn statements or copies thereof. 
The applicant must be a person served by the affected post office. 
Immediate notice of the application shall be given to all parties to 
the proceeding. The application shall be filed with the Secretary of 
the Commission.
    (b) Answer and filing of the relevant record by the Postal Service. 
Within 10 days after the application for suspension is filed, the 
Postal Service shall file with the Secretary of the Commission and 
serve on the petitioners an answer to the application supported by 
affidavits or other sworn statements or copies thereof.


Sec.  3025.40  Participant statement.

    (a) When a timely Petition for Review of a decision to close or 
consolidate a post office is filed, the Secretary shall furnish 
petitioner with a copy of PRC Form 61. This form is designed to inform 
petitioners on how to make a statement of his/her arguments in support 
of the petition.
    (b) The instructions for PRC Form 61 shall provide:
    (1) A concise explanation of the purpose of the form;
    (2) A copy of section 404(d)(2)(A) of title 39, United States Code; 
and
    (3) Notification that, if petitioner prefers, he or she may file a 
brief in lieu of or in addition to completing PRC Form 61.


Sec.  3025.41  Due date for participant statement.

    The statement or brief of petitioner and of any other participant 
seeking to have the Commission return the entire matter to the Postal 
Service for further consideration, shall be filed not more than 20 days 
after the filing of the administrative record.


Sec.  3025.42  Due date for Postal Service response.

    The statement or brief of the Postal Service, and of any other 
participant opposing return of the matter for further consideration, 
shall be filed not more than 14 days after the date for filing of 
petitioner's statement.


Sec.  3025.43  Due date for replies to the Postal Service.

    Petitioner, and any other participant seeking to have the 
Commission return the matter for further consideration, may file a 
reply to the Postal Service response not more than 10 days after the 
date of the Postal Service response. Replies are limited to issues 
discussed in the responses of the Postal Service and other participants 
seeking affirmation of the Postal Service determination.

[FR Doc. 2012-2931 Filed 2-8-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P