While cancelling its plans for a public hearing in response to the outcry against its plans to increase fees to travelers to pay for the RFID chips in passports, the State Department has re-opened the public comment period on the proposal through next Thursday, April 8th.
An uninformative supplemental notice (PDF) was published in the Federal Register on March 24, 2010, with a new docket number (DOS-2010-0037) so that people searching or monitoring the original docket wouldn’t know that comments have been re-opened.
You can submit comments by e-mail to email@example.com with “RIN 1400-AC57 and 1400-AC58” in the subject line until 5 p.m. Washington time on Thursday, April 8, 2010. You can use our comments (also available in OpenOffice .odt and MS-Office .doc formats) as a model if you need ideas for what to say.
The supplemental notice claims that comments can also be submitted through the Regulations.gov Web site, but because the notice wasn’t linked to the original docket and was mis-categorized as “non-rulemaking”, that isn’t currently possible.
[Update: Not surprisingly, in light of the problems with the online docket, few additional comments were submitted. The most significant are from United Airlines and the U.S. Travel Association, calling for the State Dept. to suspend the rulemaking until it discloses the cost basis for the proposed fee increases, holds a public meeting to explain them, and provided a new notice and comment period.]