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Proposed EGU MACT Rule Comment Period Extended (6/21/11)

In a press release today, EPA announced that it will extend the public comment period on the proposed EGU MACT Rule by 30 days, which make August 4, 20011 the new deadline for submitting comments.  EPA explicitly stated, however, that the extension would “not impact the timeline for issuing the final standards.”

An extension of the comment period was certainly warranted, but EPA managed to slight just about everyone in the process of giving it.  By stating that the extension was made “in response to requests from members of Congress,” EPA gave no credence to the many others (states, industry, etc.) that also requested an extension on valid technical grounds.  EPA even slighted members of Congress by granting only a 30-day extension instead of the 60-day extension that was requested.  The most flagrant slight was to the “robust public comment process” to which the Agency gave empty lip service.  The notion that EPA will be able to meaningfully respond to the expected volume of comments and resolve the myriad issues with the proposal within its the originally planned time frame is fantasy.

While we understand that EPA is under a court-ordered deadline of November 16, 2011 to issue the final rules, EPA can and should renegotiate this deadline as they have done previously with the proposed rules.  Failing to even attempt to extend the deadline shows a disregard of the public comment portion of the rulemaking process in favor of an arbitrary deadline negotiated by the Agency with a handful of special interest groups.  The public comment process is not just about people simply “having their say” but, more importantly, is about EPA thoughtfully considering those comments and integrating the input as appropriate to create better rules. The process is definitely not served by the Agency’s obstinate stance or a hastily proposed and finalized rule.

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Last Revised: February 22, 2013