By John Stark
After the uproar over the use or misuse of the public comment period at the Nov. 29 environmental impact statement scoping meeting in Ferndale, as well as at the Dec. 4 meeting in Spokane, the regulatory agencies have announced a different approach.
This week, at the Wed. Dec. 12 meeting in Vancouver, Wash. and the Thursday, Dec. 13 meeting in Seattle, a lottery system will be in place to decide who gets one of the limited number of two-minute speaking opportunities before a live microphone. No need to show up hours early to get a chance.
Read the details here in a joint press release from Whatcom County, Washington Department of Ecology and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Details on the meetings themselves:
Vancouver: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012; 4 to 7 p.m.; Clark College, Gaiser Student Center, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way; meeting room capacity is 800.
Seattle: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012; 4 to 7 p.m.; Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Ballroom 6F. Capacity is 3,500.
In an email last week, Whatcom County Planning Manager Tyler Schroeder reiterated that the three agencies aren’t giving any extra credit for comments spoken into a microphone. Mailed and emailed comments get the same consideration:
“Yes, the agencies will be giving the the same significance to oral
comments as written comments. All comments, regardless of how
submitted, are transcribed and posted on the website for review. There
are many avenues for people to submit comments and thousands of people
are commenting on line, either via the website, or by email: http://www.eisgatewaypacificwa.gov/get-involved/comment . We will be reviewing all comments received during the 120-day comment period.”
The comment period ends Jan. 21, 2012.