Public comments count with EPA

Commentary - Capital Press


When the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew its revised rule for water quality in streams, rivers and lakes, it showed that public comments do work.

EPA had issued a total maximum daily load revised rule in July 2000, kicking off a rulemaking process that brought a flood of response.

EPA first announced last December that it would drop the plan, and officially withdrew the revisions in mid-March.

The agency said the plan was “unworkable based on reasons described by more than 34,000 comments,” 90 percent of which were negative.

Besides the public comments, Congress blocked implementation, the rule was challenged in court, the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council criticized the plan and the Clinton administration delayed the regs.

The decision leaves the existing TMDL program in place, and EPA continues other revised regulations such as those on confined animal feeding operations.

But this good news stands: The action on the TMDL revisions show that public comments do count.


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