Public Comments are now online relating to the 2006 Coldwater/ Bureau of Mines draft EIS

In case anyone has not yet noticed, there is a massive pdf document now online containing summaries of all the “substantive” comments received by the National Park Service/Department of Interior relating to the draft Environmental Impact Statement released in the summer of 2006 concerning the fate of the Bureau of Mines-Twin Cities Campus property.

The comment period for the draft EIS continued until late November 2006. At its conclusion, officials in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) promised to put the public comments online. Over the months since then repeated questions about that were answered with statements to the effect that they were waiting for approval from higher-ups in the Interior Department. As stated here before, local officials were more than willing to let you go into their office in St. Paul and have you look at the documents but were apparently never able to put them online.

Over two years later, sometime in February or early March 2009, the massive comment summary was put online. It is possible that the report was available somewhere on the MNRRA website prior to then, but there was no link to it at its current location on February 17, 2009, according to a cached Google version of the page printed out on February 23, the day of the Coldwater/Bureau of Mines open house.

The Adobe Acrobat document is dated January 8, 2007, which was less than two months after the conclusion of the draft EIS comment period. It does not reproduce the actual submissions from members of the public. Rather, it summarizes them in very particular categories each of which is given a numbered code. The report contains 180 pages including summaries of comments from 619 individuals or groups. ┬áIt is clear that these summaries were compiled for the use of the Park Service. After each comment there is space for a response, but the responses are not there. Undoubtedly there will be responses from the National Park Service or the Interior Department when the final version of the EIS is released later this year. By law there must be a response to each “substantive comment.”

As stated in this document, “substantive comments” are defined as comments that question the accuracy of the information in the EIS, the adequacy of the EIS, or provide evidence of a need to revise the proposal. Comments from each individual are not given in full but are taken apart and summarized in relation to each coded category established by the Park Service, or the contractor who did the work. The names of the individuals making the comments are included at the end of each comment, unless the person asked to remain anonymous. The file is searchable, so it is possible to track the comments made by each commenter.

Here’s a link to the Adobe Acrobat file containing the report.

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