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Re: E-M:/ DEQ Public Participation



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Enviro-Mich message from sgutt@umich.edu
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A Google search came up with a Jack Lanigan who works for BASF in 
Wyandotte, MI.  Could this be the one and same Jack Lanigan who "just 
[yesterday] finished reading the DEQ's Public Participation Policy 
referenced previously...[and]believe[s] it is a workable plan, and...do[es] 
not find it the least bit offensive.", but who failed to identify himself 
an employee of a party of direct interest?

Steve Gutterman (affiliation: citizen)

--On Monday, May 20, 2002 10:57 PM -0400 "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" 
<ajs@sagady.com> wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> At 07:48 PM 5/20/2002 -0400, Jack Lanigan wrote:
>
> >I just finished reading the DEQ's Public Participation Policy referenced
> >previously.  I believe it is a workable plan, and I do not find it the
> >least bit offensive.  The plan to have informed representatives from
> both  >the DEQ and the applicant available to answer questions, provide
> >information, and direct questions to knowledgeable people is an
> effective  >method for getting the information to the public so they may
> make informed  >decisions and provide insightful comments.  I believe
> this new forum is a  >significant improvement from the old.
>
> First, it isn't a forum and it isn't a public hearing.  You might
> call it a "private hearing," but it most definitely isn't a "public
> hearing" required by longstanding federal public participation rules.
>
> The public knows a public hearing when it sees it.  What is totally
> lost with this so-called "format" is the ability of community members and
> neighbors to hear the concerns their fellow members place on the
> record...in public.
>
> >Previously, people voiced their opinions in a vacuum.  The DEQ only
> >provided the auditorium and a note-taker.
>
> In 30 years I've never been to any MDEQ public hearing of this
> nature.  Typically there is a hearings officer and the writer of the
> proposed permit is there,  and frequently there will be either
> state-level and/or district-level management personnel as well
> for particularly controversial issues (particularly Division chiefs).
>
> >  Any individual could stand and express any opinion, repeat any rumor,
> >  or  quote any slogan.  Hopefully, their remarks would be recorded
> > accurately.  Anyone could say anything they wanted.
>
> Isn't this in fact the purpose of a public hearing...to hear
> the public address issues pose by proposed issuance of a permit?
>
> Applicants frequently make statements at hearings on their
> applications and, if anything, their statements end up being
> too long and delay the chances of the public to be heard.
>
> >  The applicant did not need to attend or participate -- let alone
> >  answer  questions.
>
> Applicants who do not attend or participate would be foolish
> to behave in such a manner.
> >
> >With the newer policy, the public can make comments in any method they
> >find comfortable.
>
> The new policy eliminates the ability of commenters to have
> their comments heard publicly.  Only a "private" hearing is
> afforded.  Adoption of this policy is Engler/Posthumus/Harding/Nash
> autocratic decisionmaking, an assault on the voice of the public in
> controversial cases, and an assault on public participation and
> democratic public assembly of community members concerned
> about propose MDEQ permits.
>
> >  This is an improvement over the old system.  The person can talk with
> > someone taking statements and have their statement transcribed, or they
> > may have their comment recorded.
>
> MDEQ is already under the obligation to record issues raised
> at a public hearing and to respond to such issues raised.  If they
> fail to do this they risk having their permitting decisions overturned
> on appeal.
>
> >   Regardless, the opportunity to present a written statement to the DEQ
> > -- and to the press for confirmation if desired -- continues to be
> > available.  The written statement still is the most effective.  The
> > person need not be intimidated by having to make their statement to a
> > court reporter.  On the contrary, I can think of nothing more
> > intimidating (personally) than having to stand up in front of a few
> > tens  or hundreds of people and making my statement to a microphone.
>
> Do you think that community members do not want to hear all the
> input that is provided to MDEQ?  This policy trashes that completely.
> The whole concept of a public community hearing is one that is
> deeply ingrained in our public traditions.  Let me share with you
> a graphic depiction of this underlying PUBLIC HEARING tradition as
> expressed in a famous Rockwell painting:
>
> http://www.rockwellprints.com/prints/freespeech.htm
>
> This work of art says more than a thousand words about the importance
> of public testimony heard publicly by community residents and neighbors.
>
> >I find this policy to be balanced.  It provides the public with a
> >previously unavailable opportunity to acquire information from the
> source,  >to make their own decisions based on the facts, to question
> those making  >the decisions, and to provide their comments clearly.
>
> None of such questioning or interaction will appear on any
> record so none of the assurances or information will be
> verifiable and/or enforceable.
>
> The underlying motivation for this policy is anti-public participation,
> anti-public assembly, pro-applicant and anti-federal law compliant.
>
> Note also that permit applicants could use the policy to
> respond to comments made without having to have such comments
> be heard by the public at a public meeting.
>
> The real question is how Engler/Posthumus/Harding/Nash dream
> this stuff up.  They must be getting outside help.  Perhaps Michigan
> is an unwitting laboratory for the machinations of the Heritage
> Foundation, the Legislative Exchange Council nazis or some other right
> wing think tank somewhere.....like when Harding plagerized a supposed
> environmental justice policy from something developed by chemical
> lobbiests.
>
> By the way, Jack, I'd be curious who you work for and whether you
> have any interest/relations with those associated with permit
> applicants before MDEQ and/or MDNR.
>
>
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> --- Alex J. Sagady & Associates  http://my.voyager.net/~ajs/sagady.pdf
>
> Environmental Enforcement, Technical Review, Public Policy and
> Communications on Air, Water and Waste/Community Environmental Protection
>
> PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
> (517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---
>
>
>
>
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