Americans comment, renewal team listens
If you want to talk, we're going to listen -
This is the message that the Joint Pipeline Office's (JPO's) renewal team emphasized this summer and fall as it began work on its environmental impact statement (EIS) examining the renewal of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) right-of-way. The team - lead by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and assisted by Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff members and contractors from Argonne National Laboratory - offered the public various ways to provide input during its scoping period.
Scoping is one phase of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis process. It is intended to give interested parties the chance to comment on a proposed action and to offer suggestions about the issues that should be considered in the EIS analyses. Scoping was the earliest, but not the last, opportunity for people to offer their opinions about renewing the TAPS right-of-way. The comment period began July 31 and closed October 19, 2001.
The BLM and Argonne Laboratory representatives held public scoping meetings in Anchorage, Barrow, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Glennallen, and Valdez in September and October. More than 100 individuals, interest groups, elected and appointed officials, Native corporations, organizations and villages, industry representatives, and professional and civic agencies attended the meetings. The project contractor offered several meeting formats, reflecting each community's desire - some favoring an informal open house, others a formal presentation.
In addition to the comments presented at public meetings, the renewal team also received comments by mail, e-mail, Internet, voice message, fax and tribal consultation (see article on page 3). More than 230 people and organizations submitted comments, and more than 1,700 people participated in the scoping process by providing comments, requesting information, attending public meetings, or visiting the TAPS Renewal EIS Web Site (tapseis.anl.gov). During the scoping period, 2,411 visits were made by 1,370 visitors to the web site.
Most commentors (53%) used the dedicated web site. Of the remaining comments, 15% were delivered orally at the public or tribal meetings; 11% were sent to the toll-free fax line; 9% were sent by regular mail; 7% by e-mail; 4% were hand delivered; and 1% were given over the toll-free telephone line. Just under half (48%) of the comments were from Alaskans.
The comments covered a broad spectrum of opinions, issues, and concerns about TAPS. Below is a sample of the comments we received.
To view the Summary of Public Scoping Comments, Trans-Alaska Pipeline System Right-of-Way Renewal Environmental Impact Statement, visit the TAPS Renewal EIS Web Site (http://tapseis.anl.gov) or obtain a copy of the summary by e-mailing a request to firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting Rob McWhorter at 907-271-1355.
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