The length of the public comment periods for the Gateway Pacific Terminal environmental study process could be a significant issue.
At last night’s “pre-scoping meeting,” several people in the audience asked if the 30-60 day period to identify key issues could be extended. (That period won’t actually begin until this summer.) Others asked if the 60-90 day period for review of the draft environmental impact statement could be extended too.
In both cases, the answers were a bit convoluted but sounded like “probably not.”
But on her “Get Whatcom Planning” blog, land use and environmental lawyer Jean Melious contends that the real answer should be “definitely yes.”
“The agencies can (and often do, at least under NEPA) provide more public review time,” Melious writes. “For a project of this magnitude, a 60-day scoping period is pretty minimal, and allowing only 60 days to review a draft Environmental Impact Statement that is projected to take two years to prepare would be crazy.”