The time for submitting GPT EIS scoping comments is now closed. The comment period ended today at 5 P.M. As of 5:45 P.M, the EIS website was either taken down or it crashed. In the meanwhile, I am posting a link to the comment letters submitted by a few of my favorite organizations. (And check back, because I might be adding to this list once the EIS website is up.) Thanks to everyone who posted a comment (or six) and special thanks to all the great organizations and individuals that worked so hard to mobilize and educate our community on the scoping process, particularly Resources. It was an outstanding success. It remains to be seen whether or not this will make a difference.
A 55 page comment letter was submitted by Resources and a link was provided by Jean Melious on the Get Whatcom Planning Blog.
Futurewise continues to act as a public interest watchdog for our community with the submission of this letter.
The Whatcom County Chapter of Washington Conservation Voters had this to say.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife did a great job of protecting the public's interest in its comment. They noted several “potentially catastrophic and irreversable impacts” and potentially “devasting impacts on fish and wildlife and their habitats in Washington State' and want to examine areas that include Oregon and British Columbia, as well as the marine waters of Georgia Strait. They call for studies and mitigation along BNSF routes from Wyoming to Cherry Point. They also want SSA to pay a carbon tax for each ton of coal exported and to fund a DOE appointed advisory marine safety committee to recommend revised vessel operation protocols. The strongest recommendations are at the end of the 36 page comment.
Postscript: I was just advised that the EIS website was taken down to make adjustments so that comments will no longer be accepted.
Post Postscript The EIS website is up and I particularly enjoyed the 16 page comment letter by Peabody Coal, advocating a quick and efficient EIS review of direct impacts that can be effectively mitigated. Just like SSA proposed. Peabody criticizes the use of the scoping process as a “proxy for [public] opposition to coal as a fuel choice for the 21st Century.” Apparently, more appropriate subjects for EIS review include providing access to affordable energy as a basic human right; understanding that proposed export facilities in the U.S and Canada are vital to continued advancement of societies around the world, and supporting President Obama in his attempts to expedite permitting and review of important infrastructure projects. Apparently, economic justice is Peabody’s primary goal. Jeepers, here I was thanking Resources when Peabody is the real savior.