How to Comment on the EPA’s “Waters of the US” Proposed Rule; Clean Water Act

UPDATED 2014-10-08: On April 21, 2014, the EPA published its draft rule redefining “waters of the US” for purposes of the Clean Water Act.  The 90 day comment period closes July 21, 2014 October 20, 2014 November 14, 2014.

The best source of information about the mechanics of filing the comments, and the substantive rule, may be found at:!documentDetail;D=COE_FRDOC_0001-0673

The process is very simple.  You can create a PDF document of your comments and upload it on this page.  Your comments will be available to the public, and you can see all other comments filed. While it is possible to upload a document in other formats than PDF, such as Word, I strongly suggest you use PDF so it cannot be easily manipulated by others.

The Docket ID number for this rule project is EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880, and the official proposal is in 79 Fed. Reg. 22,188 (April 21, 2014), but you can most easily access it on the website referenced above.

In fact, in my opinion this website’s design and function is superb, certainly at the other end of the spectrum from all the negative criticisms made about the health care website.

While I don’t have high expectations that comments which are radically different than the draft rule will successfully persuade the EPA to change its draft, I think it is important to understand that comments have other important effects.  The ultimate purpose of filing comments is to bring about change, and that change may come in any number of different ways.  They give you the opportunity to communicate with others who have a similar perspective.  Comments identify you to allies that otherwise may never know you.  Your comments will encourage others that have like concerns.  Your comments may inspire others to incorporate your ideas with theirs as they move forward with further challenges to the rule.  And your comments may be useful in future lawsuits filed against the rule.

Just remember, the deadline to file comments is July 21, 2014.  Other of my blog posts describe the substance of the proposed rule, summarize some of my concerns with this proposed rule, and one lists the issues on which the EPA has specifically requested comment.  If you file comments to this rule proposal, I’d appreciate it if you would Email me a copy when you do, to


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