- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming environmental regulators have begun accepting public comments on proposed rule changes and other matters online instead of only by mail or fax, a move welcomed by a group that has been pressing for the change for more than four years.

Taking comments electronically isn’t as simple as it sounds, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality officials have said.

Methods must be in place to ensure every comment gets read and not lost or blocked by a spam filter. Under the new system, people comment by filling out a form on the department website.

“It enables the agency to organize and respond to comments effectively and efficiently, while providing a better service to the public,” department Director Todd Parfitt said in a release.

The Powder River Basin Resource Council, a group that keeps close watch on the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, welcomed the change.

“If a new industrial facility is proposed in someone’s neighborhood, they should have the ability to have their voice heard,” resource council attorney Shannon Anderson said in a release.

The resource council recently asked the department’s citizen review panel, the Environmental Quality Council, to require acceptance of electronic comments. The state council turned away the petition amid department assurances it was setting up an online system.

Upcoming opportunities for the public to comment on department business will include a report on groundwater pollution in the Pavillion area, according to the department.

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