Monday, July 16, 2012

Coal: SEPA Information

Here is an important message received today from Matt Krogh, our North Sound Baykeeper and candidate for Washington State Representative for Position 2 of the 42nd District. 
We've been waiting to hear when the GPT EIS will begin and end; here is that information:
Just got off the phone with Ecology. "Beginning of August for scoping" is now "second half of August" or "COULD begin in August," but it sounded doubtful. Scoping will start the day that announcements are printed in both the Federal and State register. (Personal note: we need a betting pool. I've got September 5th.)
Scoping hearings are scheduled to take place in the middle 60 days of the 120 day scoping period. So, 30 days of comment, 60 days during which hearings will be held, 30 days after.
Probable web site URL, to be managed by CH2M Hill, will be It should be up soon, and better maintained than the Ecology site. The plan is for that web site to post comments with names and content as they stream in; Ecology didn't have an estimated turn-around time for receipt to posting. 
Matt Krogh, North Sound Baykeeper
RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
2309 Meridian St.
Bellingham, WA 98225
360 733-8307 (office)
360 820-2938 (cell) 
Now that the proverbial clock is about to start, its time for concerned citizens to get their concerns properly registered for consideration in this critical step of this process.
Here is a link to a sample SEPA Checklist taken directly from the Dept of Ecology Website.
This seems a pretty simple form to fill out and in some respects it is, except that is too simple!
It's default is a 'simple' project, which GPT is certainly NOT.

I certainly hope that means that these 'simple' EIS standard questions will need to be broadened and clarified extensively to account for the many major, diverse, yet directly connected aspects of the total project and all the areas it will impact if approval is granted.

But, wait!
Even getting the questions that are necessary ASKED isn't enough either.
Better check out this website for instructions about how to draft statements of concern that will ACTUALLY COUNT!
Isn't it funny how 'simple' things aren't really that 'simple' after all?

I strongly suggest that every concerned citizen who wants to make their voices heard via the EIS process, check out this Protect Whatcom website very carefully - make sure you don't waste your time.
Of special interest is the Section titled 'How to Draft a Scoping Comment'.

To make sure your comments or concerns are read and included in the EIS, use the the examples given and submit to the specific addresses shown in the time intervals allowed.
We don't want to waste our chance to be heard!

PS- There is more help available from RE Sources, including some scheduled public work sessions.
Stay tuned.