Often, laws passed by Congress are merely frameworks – outlines telling how a government program is to be basically organized. The details are often left to an agency charged with carrying out Congress’ vague wishes.
The amount of, frankly, legislative authority delegated by Congress to federal bureaucrats never ceases to amaze your professor although, in fairness, the complexity of many federal programs is far greater than a group of elected officials can be expected to master.
First, watch this short video about the Federal Register.
Next, go to the online version of the Federal Register: http://www.federalregister.gov/
Find a controversial rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency on April 21, 2014, called “Definition of `Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act.” You can find it either by looking at the Federal Register edition published on that day, or through their search engine. Just FYI, the EPA also issued a follow-up extending the comment period until October 20.
Ok, it’s a huge rule. I don’t expect you to read the whole thing, but read the executive summary, and browse through a little so you know what it’s about.
The purpose of publishing rules like this in the Federal Register is so that the public can have input. In this case, they even extended the comment period to make sure everybody could have their say. For your assignment this week, prepare a 2 – 5 page comment on the proposed rule. If your comment truly reflects your own passionate view, feel free to submit it to the agency for real (no extra credit, but your view counts just as much as anybody’s).
Submit in Word. Cite your sources.