What is a Public Comment?
A “Public Comment” is a communication to the government from the public regarding a proposed rule or an existing rule, operating permits, or a comment made at an oral proceeding. The comments may be on any issue. There is no required format for public comments. Helpful comments are generally clear, supported by evidence, and focus on the subject of a rulemaking or a permit. Constructive comments are more likely to have a more significant impact on ADEQ’s decision making.
Why are Public Comments Important?
Public comment provides an opportunity for the public to be involved in ADEQ’s decisionmaking process and allows ADEQ to benefit from the public’s expertise and perspective. Through a public comment a member of the public can provide ADEQ with his or her opinion, expertise, or additional facts, and can assist ADEQ in making the best informed decision when moving forward with a project. While ADEQ must follow state and federal law, public comments can influence how solutions are achieved.
When can you make a comment?
ADEQ accepts public comments in response to several documents going into circulation. The first being when a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published indicating the intended publication of a new or revised state rule. Secondly, when an operating permit is being proposed for publication it must first be reviewed by the public, and ADEQ accepts comments on such permits during the Public Comment Period described in the affiliated notice. Each Public Comment Period shall allow for a minimum of 30 days for public comment after publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or Notice of Permit Review. Additionally, a public review process where ADEQ accepts comments on the subject matter is required for the creation or amendment of a State Implementation Plan (SIP).
How is a comment submitted?
Public comments can be made orally or in writing. Oral comments can be made at the scheduled hearing or public meeting. The date, time and location of public meetings are included on an ADEQ Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), or Notice of Permit Review. These can be found published on the ADEQ website or in the local newspaper. Written comments can be submitted to ADEQ by sending them to the person listed in the public notice or to the person chairing the meeting. Comments should be submitted before the close of the announced comment period in order to be considered. After the comment period concludes, ADEQ closes the record. Any comments submitted after the close of the record may not be considered.