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Mar 09

Environmental Groups Urge SRBC to Improve Public Participation Policies

Today we submitted a letter to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) on behalf of our members and the members of PA Sierra Club, Earthworks, Clean Water Action, and PennFuture. This letter pointed out the chilling effect new Commission public comment procedures have on public participation and the agency’s ability to solicit expert testimony.

Earlier this winter, 2012, the SRBC substantively amended its public hearing and comment policies. Previously, the Commission conducted public hearings on the same day as its quarterly annual meetings, meetings at which it voted on pending permits, decided policy issues, received updates on water issues in the Basin, and ordered new scientific studies among other things. After a procedural misstep in December 2011 the Commission changed its policy to bifurcate these proceedings, now holding public hearings and comment on separate dates from its business meetings. While this change afforded the Commission more time to review public testimony, it dispossed citizens of the ability to address their concerns directly to Commissioners and receive feedback, a long-standing tradition with the SRBC with proven mutual benefits, as well as limited the Commissioners ability to hear directly from experts on water quality and quantity issues.

For these reasons the coalition submitted this letter on Friday, March 9th 2012 urging the Commission to reconsider and reverse this new policy. This letter is part of our larger SRBC campaign – read more about that by clicking here, and for a more technical SRBC campaign overview click here.