Army Corps: "Your Comments Are Important To Us. We'll Get Back To You in Four Years."
The Army Corps announced today the release of three separate reports related to the ongoing Asian carp invasion of Lake Michigan, as I blogged about here. The report that is likely to get the least public attention out of the three that were released today, however, is the one that probably demands it the most: the report that summarizes and purports to respond to the hundreds of individuals who appeared in person at public hearings throughout the country or submitted written comments – not to mention the thousands of individuals who signed on to petitions or joint letters – on the Army Corps’ multi-year study of potential long-term solutions to the threat of Asian carp and other aquatic nuisance species moving between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.
The report begins by providing a relatively accurate and even-handed summary of the comments that the Army Corps received. Many of the major issues that the commenters raised are the same ones that I wrote about in my comments to this process: the Corps is saying it will need at least until 2015 to complete its study, but we cannot afford to wait that long. We need the Corps to move forward much more quickly, and to focus on a solution that will solve the invasive species problem permanently by preventing the spread of aquatic invaders moving through the Chicago waterways in both directions (not just half-measures that are only geared toward Asian carp).
But after spending the first twenty pages of the report summarizing these comments, here is all that the Army Corps has to say in response to them:
Public comments received through the GLMRIS scoping process are important to USACE and will be carefully reviewed. The issues, ideas, suggestions, and concerns expressed, will be incorporated into the future [draft Environmental Impact Statement] as is allowed within the authorized scope of this study.
The report later states that the Corps expects to seek public comment again upon release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement in 2015, and that in the meantime we are all welcome to follow the study’s progress on Facebook and Twitter.
Are you kidding me? After a broad regional outcry that they need to narrow the scope of their study and move much more quickly, all that the Army Corps has to say in response is that they intend to keep fiddling while Asian carp invade the Great Lakes?