Army Corps Tunnels comments due Monday, November 9

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Now that your Water Fix comments are in, it’s time to write to the US Army Corps of Engineers. The tunnels cannot be built without a permit from the Army Corps.

How the Corps will evaluate the tunnels and make a permit decision.

Water quality and aquatic habitat are among the Corps’ chief concerns: “The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal’s probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects.” – From the Corps web page on the tunnels project.

More on how the Corps will evaluate the project:  “EVALUATION FACTORS: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the described activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the described activity, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the described activity will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The activity’s impact on the public interest will include application of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 230).

The decision whether to issue permission pursuant to Section 408 will be based on an evaluation of whether the project will impair the usefulness of the project works or is injurious to the public interest. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposed alteration, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.”

If you submitted comments on the CA Water Fix, the Army Corps is interested in the same issues. Reformat your comments and send them to the Corps.

Read the Army Corps’ public notice here.

Request hearings on the tunnels permit application.

When you write to the Corps with your comments, request public hearings on the tunnels. The Corps web page states, “Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted.”

Ask for an extension of the comments period.

An extension was granted to extend the public comments period from 30 to 60 days, yet this is not long enough for the public respond adequately with comments. Ask for an extension to January 9, 2016.

Where and how to submit comments:

Written comments, referencing Public Notice SPK-2008-00861 must be submitted to the office listed below on or before November 9, 2015.

Zachary Simmons, Project Manager
US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District
1325 J Street, Room 1350
Sacramento, California 95814-2922
Email: Zachary.M.Simmons@usace.army.mil
Note: subject line should include:
Public Notice SPK-2008-00861

Please send your comments and let’s stop these tunnels!