Why Make a Public Comment?

It can be hard to feel like we have a say in cleanup of the Hanford Site. The cleanup process can seem like a bureaucratic enigma that has to be carefully studied to be understood. So how can we Hanford newbies begin to participate in Hanford Cleanup?

Public comment periods are an important opportunity for the public to have a say in this cleanup process. The Tri-Parties are required by law to hold comment periods for proposed changes to permits on the Hanford Site.

So, why take the time to make a public comment?

  1. It helps you learn about Hanford.

Preparing a comment for a public comment period requires you to do your research on a particular Hanford topic that you may not be familiar with.

  1. Your comment will be read and responded to. 

Agencies are required to read and respond to every public comment that is submitted during a particular comment period. You can rest assured that your comment won’t go unread and unanswered.

  1. It helps agencies know what public opinion is, and that the public cares.

Public comment opportunities let the Tri-Party Agencies know that the public is watching what is happening at the Hanford Site and have an opinion on cleanup issues.

Interested in making a public comment? Current public comment periods are available on the Department of Ecology’s website. Public comment period information is accompanied by informational fact sheets, relevant permit documents, and public meeting information. The page also has information on where to send completed comments.

Many public interest groups such as Hanford Challenge and Columbia Riverkeeper also create fact sheets for citizens to consult to gain additional background information on the issue. Sometimes, the Hanford Advisory Board has also given advice in the past on the issue in question. HAB advice can be helpful background for informing your own comment.

by: Emily Bays

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