EPA Adds Two Public Hearings and Extends Comment Period for Draft Revised 2020 Permit for Housatonic River Cleanup
BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the deadline for public comments to be submitted on EPA's proposed modifications to the 2016 cleanup plan for the "Rest of River" portion of the Housatonic River. EPA has also added a second session for the Public Hearing on August 26 and an additional Public Hearing for public input, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15.
The comment opportunity on the changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA") Permit Modification, which EPA issued in 2016 ("the 2016 Permit") began on July 14, 2020, and now will end on September 18, 2020.
In addition to the Public Hearing to be held on Sept. 15, EPA is continuing to hold two formal public hearings on August 26 in two separate sessions, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. These hearings are opportunities for citizens and local stakeholders to present comments for the public record in a public manner. EPA will be accepting comments on the changes contained in the proposed modifications to the cleanup plan to address the impacts of PCBs released into the Housatonic River from the GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River site.
Public Hearing Logistics
In order to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local restrictions on large gatherings, all hearings will be conducted virtually and can be accessed on-line or via telephone.
The virtual Public Hearings will be held August 26, 2020 and on September 15, 2020. There will be two sessions on August 26, the first session will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the second session from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The September 15 session will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
At the beginning of each hearing, EPA will provide a brief overview of the proposed permit changes, followed by an opportunity for the public to make comments for the record. These comments will be recorded, transcribed, and included in the site Administrative Record. EPA will not respond to comments at the hearings. Written responses to comments will be included as part of EPA's final Permit decision. The brief overview presentation will be posted online so the public may review it before or after the hearing.
The virtual Public Hearing sessions will be conducted online via Adobe Connect—a platform that allows those with computers to listen on-line. Members of the public wishing to speak during the Hearing must register in advance. Individuals who do not wish to speak do not need to register. To afford all interested persons an opportunity to comment, time allotments will be limited for each speaker depending on number of registrations. Closed Captioning services will be provided for users accessing the virtual public hearing via Adobe Connect. Each Public Hearing will also be simulcast on local public access cable television. Specific information on this will be posted at EPA's Housatonic River web page (https://www.epa.gov/ge-housatonic/send-us-your-comments-proposed-revised-cleanup-plan-rest-river).
Those without internet access or otherwise unable to complete the registration may contact EPA to make provisions to participate via telephone. Please contact: ZaNetta Purnell, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator at 617-918-1306 or email@example.com .
Full instructions are available at EPA's website at: https://www.epa.gov/ge-housatonic/send-us-your-comments-proposed-revised-cleanup-plan-rest-river
Other ways to comment:
You do not need to attend or speak at the Public Hearing in order to make a comment for the record.
To provide EPA with your written comments about the Draft Revised 2020 Permit, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org), fax (617-918-0028) or mail comments, postmarked no later than September 18, 2020 to:
GE-Housatonic River Site Public Comments
EPA Region 1
5 Post Office Square (Mail Code SEMD-07-01)
If you would like to make oral comments but cannot do so at one of the Hearings and/or do not have access to a computer for that purpose, EPA has also established a dedicated voice mail box where the public can submit comments of up to five minutes in length. Should you wish to leave a comment via voice mail, please call 617-918-1700 and follow the instructions. Comments provided via this method will also be transcribed and responded to in EPA's Response to Comments.
EPA's detailed proposed modifications to the 2016 RCRA permit for cleaning the Housatonic River: https://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/01/647214 (135 pp, 11.1 MB, About PDF). EPA is only seeking public comment on the proposed changes contained in the Draft Revised 2020 Modification to the Permit issued in 2016. All other cleanup requirements in the 2016 Permit remain unchanged. For convenience, the changes are in redline/strikeout format.
Full instructions on how to register for the formal public hearings: https://www.epa.gov/ge-housatonic/send-us-your-comments-proposed-revised-cleanup-plan-rest-river
EPA's brief overview presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADM5xUkRFDA