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EA regulators decision: 3 public meetings, public meeting process described, one new comment period introduced

CoalWatch News Update, April 29, 2011

On April 21, 2011, the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) released a document which describes the public comment period for the upcoming draft Application Information Requirements (AIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines.

As background, on March 17, 2011, nearly 30 groups sent a letter to the regulators with recommendations for the public comment process.
News Release & Letter

On April 21, CoalWatch and other groups received the "Public Consultation Approach Conceptual Plan". Although it is not dated, and contains no indication of authorship, it is presented as the "final design of the public consultation approach for the draft AIR/EIS Guidelines document."
Public Consultation Approach Conceptual Plan

A. Activities before the Public Comment Period

Seven days before the comment period begins

  • The draft AIR/EIS Guidelines will be posted on the EAO & CEAA websites.
  • Notices of the comment period will be published in most likely places (websites, newspapers, radio, etc.)

B. Public Comment Period

  • Written comments made during the 40-day comment period will be posted to the EAO's website (but NOT oral comments, and NOT the CEAA registry).
  • All issues will be documented in a tracking table. This will include written and oral comments.
  • The EAO will post the draft tracking table and provide a two week public comment period.
  • Comments may be submitted by email, in addition to fax, regular mail, and the EAO's online comment form. (Note, this is not in the document, but has been verified to John Snyder by Rachel Shaw of the EAO)

C. Public Meetings

These will have two components:

Display Session

  • Info display and documents, as well as access to EAO and CEAA staff
  • Will consist of EAO and CEAA materials only (NOT proponent/project info)

Formal Meeting Component

  • Introduction to the meeting, AIR/EIS, and EA process by EAO & CEAA, 30 minutes
  • Presentation on the project by the proponent, 30 mins.
  • Questions and Discussion, 3 hours
    • one comment/question at a time, 2 mins max
    • response, 2 mins
    • follow-up, 2 mins
    • further response, 2 mins
    • people can recycle to the back of the line

Public Meeting Logistics

Meetings will be held in

  • Fanny Bay
  • Port Alberni
  • Courtenay

Other details

  • Likely held in early June
  • Scheduled for weekday evenings
  • Water taxi arranged for Denman Island residents.

Comment on Tracking Table

  • Two week comment period
  • Likely during summer
  • Advertised seven days in advance
  • Comments may be submitted by email, in addition to fax, regular mail, and the EAO's online comment form
  • Tracking table and comments will be posted on the EAO's website
  • Click here to see the tracking table created by CEAA for comments from September 2010 on the federal EA.

Download the Public Consultation Approach Conceptual Plan