LEWISTON, Idaho – A formal public hearing about a proposed Port of Lewiston dock extension will be conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District on October 19, 2011, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Sacajawea Junior High School, 3610 12th Street in Lewiston. An open house will precede the hearing from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Corps representatives from Regulatory, Real Estate, Planning/Programs/Project Management, and Engineering and Construction offices will be available to answer questions at the open house.
The Corps received a complete application from the Port of Lewiston on May 27, 2011, requesting authorization to construct and expand the port’s existing dock and storage areas in Lewiston. Proposed work includes relocating an existing mooring dolphin, expanding the existing dock and graveling a storage area.
The formal hearing agenda includes a presentation by the Port of Lewiston as applicant for a Department of the Army permit; plus opportunities for officials, organizations and individuals to comment or summarize highlights of their written comments being submitted. District Commander Lt. Col. David Caldwell will chair the hearing as the presiding officer.
This hearing is part of a well-established Corps review process that includes public involvement. The hearing follows an initial public comment period that ran from June 22 to Aug. 22 and is now being extended until October 29, 2011 or 10 days after the hearing.
Three facets of the proposed dock will be reviewed:
· Corps Regulatory review under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Under Section 404, an Army permit is required for the discharge of dredge/fill material into U.S. waters. Backfilling for the dock extension and the mooring dolphin relocation involves discharge of sand and gravel into the Clearwater River. Under Section 10, an Army permit is required for work or structures in, over or under navigable U.S. waters.
· Corps Real Estate project approval for impacts to an existing landside easement.
· Corps Engineering and Construction review of potential impacts the proposed dock expansion may have on the adjacent levee.
These actions are subject to review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which may include a separate public comment period. The Corps will consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine the affect the proposed project may have on species designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, or their critical habitat.
The procedures for the hearing will follow Corps of Engineer regulations. Allotted times for speakers at the hearing will be based upon the total number of requests. Those wishing to speak will register first so the Corps knows how many people will be commenting at the hearing and can then determine how much time each person will have to speak. All speakers are encouraged to summarize their comments during their allotted hearing time and then provide a written copy to the Corps. The hearing will be recorded and reported verbatim for inclusion in the public record.
The Port of Lewiston as the “applicant” will first briefly describe the proposed activity followed by a period for officials and the public to provide oral and written comments. The hearing procedure is:
- First, the applicant (Port of Lewiston) or representative will be given 15 minutes to present the proposal; the presiding officer may question the applicant for clarification at the end of the presentation, or the presiding officer may choose to call on the applicant at a later time.
- Elected and Tribal officials will speak second, with no established time limit.
- Organizations will speak third and be allowed approximately five minutes for each organization. The length of each organizational comment will be determined the night of the hearing based upon the number of speaker requests. Please summarize orally and then submit the full text in writing.
- Individuals will speak fourth and be allowed approximately three minutes each. Actual length of each individual comment will be determined the night of the hearing based upon the total number of speakers. Please summarize orally and then submit the full text in writing.
- Fifth to speak are non-elected government officials – state, county, city, federal agency representatives.
- The applicant will then be given an opportunity for closing remarks, no more than five minutes.
Cross examination of those providing comments will not be permitted. The hearing transcript will be posted on the District Website.
All written and oral comments at the meeting will become part of the official public record. Written comments will be accepted by the Corps for 10 days after the hearing, or until Oct. 29. Comments should be submitted via email to PortofLewiston-PN@usace.army.mil; or U.S. mail to USACE Idaho Falls Regulatory Office, 900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite A, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402; or fax to 208-522-2994. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment or the determination whether to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to NEPA. Comments are also used to determine impacts of the proposed project to the overall public interest.
Detailed information about the application is contained in the District’s Notice of Public Hearing NWW-2010-00213 on the District Website at http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/html/offices/op/rf/pn.asp. See “Public Notices” in the “Regulatory” section of the Website for drawings and directions to the hearing. Information is also available from Corps Project Manager James Joyner at PortofLewiston-PN@usace.army.mil or (208) 522-1676.