No more meetings about the Coldwater/Bureau of Mines site

The National Park Service/Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) has announced that there will be no further public meetings planned concerning the disposition of the Coldwater Spring property. A further meeting had been announced for mid-April, but that meeting will not take place. The decision appears to be the result of what happened at the Open House on February 23, 2009, at which some of those attending insisted on speaking publicly on the various issues involved in front of all those gathered, rather than speaking individually to the officials present. The decision was announced in an email to several of those interested in what happens to the Coldwater/Bureau of Mines property.

Email from Steven P. Johnson of MNRRA, April 7, 2009

Thanks, both of you [Waziyatawin and Wicanhpi Iyotan Win Autumn Cavender-Wilson], for asking about the future of public engagement on the Coldwater site (former Bureau of Mines).

We have received considerable public input concerning restoration of the site and spring, and are proceeding to plan accordingly. You had asked about another public meeting. When we first began working on site restoration planning in November, we contemplated having two public meetings on that topic. As we got further into the issue, it seemed clear that one meeting would be adequate. That meeting (February 23) and the subsequent 30-day comment period provided us with ample public input about site restoration alternatives.

I know both of you are primarily interested in the future of ownership/management of the site. We are working on completion of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which will be based on the preferred alternative identified by the property owner, the Department of the Interior. That preferred alternative, as you recall, is that the site  and spring be restored and that the Department of the Interior retain ownership, assigning management to the National Park Service. As was described to you in February, we hope to complete the FEIS and publish it about mid-June.

When it is published, we will notify you and many others of its availability. I have email addresses for the many people who have already submitted comments directly to us on this topic, and will notify each of them.

Publication of the FEIS triggers a 30-day written comment period in which it will be appropriate for individuals and organizations to comment on the Department of the Interior’s preferred alternative for future management of the site. Autumn, you will want to resubmit your petition at that time. All comments received during that 30-day period will be forwarded to the Department of the Interior, which will evaluate the FEIS and the comments received before making a final decision. The Department of the Interior’s final decision will be announced in a document called a Record of Decision. I would hope that Record of Decision would be issued in Fall 2009 so that we can move toward site restoration.

Steven P. Johnson
Chief of Resource Management
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
National Park Service
111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
St. Paul, MN 55101

Email: [email protected]

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