Don Gosney: Give the Public Time

Don Gosney

blogimage.jpgAfter an unbelievably long wait time I see that we finally have the Draft Environmental Impact Report available for Chevron’s Modernization Project.

At 4,440 pages, this is some hefty reading.  At least has a has a few pretty pictures.

We have some in our community that don’t even need the 45 day comment period.  Their minds were made up long before this report was even started.  We may even have elected officials who may publicly repeat the comments they made when an equally lengthy DEIR was issued for the Point Molate development project a three years ago.  At that time one of the now elected officials proclaimed that she didn’t need to read it because she already knew everything she needed to know.

For those of us in the public, though, the 45 day comment period is not nearly enough time to give this 4,440 page technical document the attention it deserves.

Even if it were a Stephen King, Harry Potter or Twilight novel this would not be enough time for a member of the community to review a technical document of this magnitude—and those are an interesting read.   Most members of the community have day jobs and cannot commit the bulk of their life to reviewing such a document in this brief amount of time so a 45 day comment period comes across as an effort to deprive the public of a fair and reasonable amount of time for review.

All I have is the electronic version of this DEIR and I can already see my hard drive bulging at the seams from the excessive weight of this report.

We all want the future of this project to come to a conclusion but not by rushing the comment period.  We need enough time to ferret out any areas of concern and so Chevron can be given the opportunity to address these concerns.  We certainly don’t want to be overly hasty and close the comment period only to have new concerns brought up when this comes back before the public in a meeting of the Council or the Planning Commission.

I’m requesting that the comment period be extended significantly beyond this 45 day comment period.  When the Point Molate DEIR came up for review, the City Council—with this Mayor leading the charge—insisted that the 45 day comment period be extended to 105 days to give the public and the cities in the Richmond community a fair and reasonable amount of time to review and comment on that DEIR.  Being the fair and honest elected representatives that they are, I would think that this Council would support this request with the same level of enthusiasm as they had for extending the Point Molate DEIR.

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