SEND YOUR COMMENTS NOW!
Send comments via ADOTs public link: http://azdot.gov/SouthMountainFreeway/
As many of you know ADOT has proposed the extension of the Loop 202 South Mountain freeway for sometime. The draft Environmental Impact Statement was released in April and is open for a comment period until July 24th.
A group called Protecting Arizona’s Resources and Children (PARC) http://protectazchildren.org/action-plan is working to oppose this by-pass alignment which will run along the Pecos road alignment. Many of you on this email chain know how important Pecos and this area has been to many recreational athletes and cyclists in the Ahwatukee / Tempe / Chandler area. This freeway will decimate the cycling and recreation along this corridor as well as bring increased truck traffic impacting our safety and our health.
We are able to give our collective comments to PARC and their attorney who will be using this to oppose ADOT and MAG through this commenting process. If you feel strongly about the fight against this freeway, please submit your comments via ADOTs public http://azdot.gov/SouthMountainFreeway/ site. More information and the EIS is available for view here as well. Your comments should be specific as possible to gain the most weight in the agencies eyes. Pointers below from a NEPA planner on this project to help guide those comments. Feel free to pass this along to others.
Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of time to get this pulled together and comments are needed by this Friday, June 28th.
POINTERS ON GIVING FEEDBACK:
· To receive the greatest amount attention from the agency, try to provide as much specificity and detail as possible in your comments (including citing relevant pages from the EIS, and/or citing other studies or data you know that provide contradictory or supplemental information to that presented in the EIS).
· Where possible, try to specifically point to deficiencies or omissions in the EIS analysis—for example, relevant resource issues or uses (such as recreational biking) that were not addressed in the EIS, or that were inadequately covered.
· Do your best to ensure your comments are professional and objective in tone, rather than emotionally charged. “Rants” are typically not considered substantive comments and are far more likely to be set aside by the agency, rather than analyzed and formally addressed.
· Commenting is not a form of “voting.” The number of negative comments an agency receives does not prevent an action from moving forward. Numerous comments that repeat the same basic message of support or opposition will typically be responded to collectively. In addition, general comments that state an action will have “significant environmental effects” are not considered useful unless the relevant causes and environmental effects are explained.
· It is a requirement of NEPA that those public comments deemed “substantive” (i.e., meaningful and specific) receive a formal response from the agency in the Final EIS. Those considered “non-substantive” (such as mere statements of opinion) are simply noted and dealt with in bulk—there is no requirement for the agency to respond individually to non-substantive comments.