General Tips for Writing Effective Public Comments
- The most valuable public comments are unique, fact-based, and succinct. The agency will have to sort through many identical form letters and expressions of personal opinion. Make yours clear and memorable.
- Use an opening sentence to establish your credibility. State who you are and summarize any of your experiences that are relevant to the topic of the proposal. Be concise but support your claims. Base your justification on sound reasoning, scientific evidence, and/or how you will be impacted.
- Consider addressing trade-offs and opposing views in your comment. Suggest alternatives to the proposed action and explain how your alternative might better meet the same objective.
- It can be important to state what you support as well discuss your disagreements.
- The comment process is not a vote - one well-supported comment is often more influential than a thousand form letters.
- Comments on the specific economic effects of the proposal that include quantitative and qualitative data are especially helpful. Give the rulemakers something tangible to address.
- Specific examples can create clarity in your concerns and argument.
- Constructive and respectful comments tend to be the most effective.
- Be accurate.
- Draft your comment in word processing software so that you can edit it, save it, and proofread it. When it is ready, copy it into the submission form. This way, if there is a problem submiting the web form, you will not lose your work.
Here is additional reading on the topic of writing effective comments: