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Submitting Public Comments to the EPA. Public Outreach Presentation New Orleans, LA June 26-27, 2014 Holly Wilson U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards Research Triangle Park, NC. Overview. Background Types of Comments Oral comments

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Submitting Public Comments to the EPA

Public Outreach Presentation

New Orleans, LAJune 26-27, 2014

Holly Wilson

U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyOffice of Air Quality Planning and StandardsResearch Triangle Park, NC


  • Background

  • Types of Comments

    • Oral comments

    • Written comments

  • Some helpful tips

  • Questions


  • Although, communities can engage with EPA before a rulemaking is proposed (and we encourage them to do so), the agency officially asks for comments after a rule is proposed and before it is finalized

  • The comment period is open for a set period of time and that time period is provided in the Federal Register notice at the time a rule is proposed

  • All comments are reviewed by the rulemaking team and a response to comment document is crafted and is submitted to the docket before the rule is finalized; additionally some comments are responded to in the preamble of the final rule

Types of comments
Types of Comments

  • There are two main types of comments that we receive, they are:

    • oral comments (given at public hearings) and

    • written comments submitted during the comment period after a rule is proposed

  • Both types of comments are weighed the same and are reviewed by the rulemaking team

Oral comments
Oral Comments

  • Oral comments are provided to the agency during a public hearing (remember to check the Federal Register notice for the time period that a public hearing can be requested in)

  • Each speaker (generally) has five minutes to provide EPA with their comments on the proposed rule; speakers are called up in pairs to provide their testimony

  • Comments are transcribed by a court reporter and after the hearing a transcribed report of all comments received is available in the public docket

  • You can expand on your oral comments with written comments.

Written comments
Written Comments

  • Written comments can be submitted:

    • EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0682, may be submitted by one of the following methods:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: - follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

    • Email: [email protected] - include docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0682 in the subject line of the message.

    • Fax: (202) 566-9744.

    • Mail: Send your comments to:

      • Environmental Protection Agency

        EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Mailcode 28221T

        Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0682

        1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Washington, DC 20460

    • Express mail, commercial delivery, hand delivery or courier: Such deliveries are only accepted during the docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. Deliver your comments to:

      • EPA Docket Center, Room 3334

        EPA WJC West Building

        1301 Constitution Avenue, NW.

        Washington, DC 20004

  • Comments need to be submitted within the comment period outlined in the proposed rule

Some helpful tips
Some Helpful Tips

  • Before preparing oral and written comments we recommend that you read through the publically available materials on the proposed rule (e.g., the Federal Register notice, the fact sheet, press releases, etc.)

    • Each rule has a website and can be found through a quick Internet search

    • If you have questions you can contact your regional EPA office (they can give you information on the impacts of a rule at the local level) or contact the staff contact that is listed in the Federal Register

  • Please keep your comments specific to the rulemaking that we are seeking comment on

    • While we will do our best to get your feedback back to the responsible EPA office, we are only able to respond to comments that relate directly to the rule at hand

  • General feedback on the rule is welcome, although if you have feedback that relates to items that we specify in the preamble, please provide feedback on those items (at public hearings we provide a document that outlines what we are seeking comment on, this is a useful tool in helping to prepare one’s comments)

    • For example, if we ask for information about drilling activity locations in the preamble, it would be helpful for us to hear back from the public as to where drilling occurs in their community

Some helpful tips cont
Some Helpful Tips (cont.)

  • If you have specific recommendations on what the agency should do, please provide those recommendations in your comments

    • For example, if you think that additional monitoring would be helpful for EPA to determine what actions are needed for a particular source category, please provide these in your comments, along with your reasons

  • In general we find in depth information and photos to be useful information to have

    • Please note: all information submitted to the docket cannot be returned


Contact information:

Holly Wilson, LeadCommunity Air ProgramOutreach and Information DivisionOffice of Air Quality Planning and Standards U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(919)541-5624 

[email protected]