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Welcome. Community Meeting Co-Sponsored by: Buckeye Forest Council Ohio Environmental Council Sierra Club – Ohio Chapter.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome. Community Meeting Co-Sponsored by: Buckeye Forest Council Ohio Environmental Council Sierra Club – Ohio Chapter."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome

2 Community Meeting Co-Sponsored by: Buckeye Forest Council Ohio Environmental Council Sierra Club – Ohio Chapter

3 A little about your Meeting Co-sponsors Buckeye

4 Buckeye Forest Council Protecting Ohio's native forests and their inhabitants

5 Buckeye Forest Council Who We Are Statewide Nonprofit Member Based (200+ members) Advocacy Education Organizing

6 Advocacy Meeting with State Legislators and Bureaucrats at the Division of Forestry – Open Houses and Strategic Plan… HB 357 –Stopping Oil and Gas Drilling on public lands SB Sub 221 Governors Energy Bill – Bio-Mass - opposing State Forest trees for bio-mass Fighting Columbia Gas Expansions at Mohican and Hocking State Forest Educating the Public about NiSource Columbia Gas

7 Education Community Meetings just like this one! Traveling, Tabling, Talking Quarterly Hikes

8 Organizing Building Grassroots Community Commitment to Preserving our Forest Treasures Training Forest Watch Monitors

9 The OEC – who we are The Ohio Environmental Council advocates for healthy air, land, and water to make Ohio a better place in which to live, work, and play.

10 The OEC – who we are collaboration supporting & leading environmental/ conservation groups education training member groups and fostering environmental awareness observation keeping watch for opportunities to protect Ohios environment

11 The OEC – who we are launching legislative agendas & proposing reform litigation fighting for better legal protection of Ohios environment legislation

12 Sierra Club – Who We Are As the worlds oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization, the Clubs 1.4 million members and supporters in 65 chapters and over 400 local groups nationwide possess the unique ability to empower people and influence public policy through community activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation.

13 Sierra Club – Who We Are Sierra Clubs statement of purpose is: To explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the Earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the Earths ecosystem and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.

14 Sierra Club – Who We Are The Ohio Chapter has: over 17,000 members throughout the state, which includes seven local groups working on local and regional conservation issues. Members and volunteers of the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter: – work to protect public forests and endangered species, – fight for clean air and water, and – reduce global warming pollution.

15 Whats NiSource up to? NiSource the parent company of Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. is requesting unprecedented relief from triggering Endangered Species reviews for 50 years. The permit would cover approximately15,500 miles of its natural gas pipelines and storage units from the Atlantic seaboard running southwest to Louisiana.

16 Some Specifics Over 3,000 miles are located in Ohio, the most heavily impacted of all affected states. Further, the request calls for a mile wide corridor or a half mile on either side of the pipeline

17 Some Specifics This means that the request would allow NiSource access free from triggering Endangered Species Reviews to over 3,000 square miles of Ohio or a little more than 7% of our land mass. Roughly equal to the amount of Ohio covered by Water… The request covers 77 of Ohios 88 counties

18 NiSource HCP Initiative

19 NiSource Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Initiative Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 (a) (2) – requires that federal agencies consult with USFWS to ensure that actions they undertake, fund, permit, or authorize are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat.

20 NiSource HCP Initiative ESA Section 10 – HCP/ITP (a)(1)(B) permits non-Federal entity to take federally listed species while ensuring their long-term survival and enhancement. Promotes the long-term conservation of federally listed species. Reduces conflict between species and economic activities. Develops partnership between public and private sectors.

21 NiSource HCP Initiative Why Do This? Good for Conservation/Good for Business More efficient and effective use of resources (FWS and NiSource) Pipeline infrastructure in the US is expanding.

22 NEPA/EIS Process Overview Notice of Intent Published 10/11/2007 Public Scoping Period Concluded 12/8/2007 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (Summer/Fall 2008) Final EIS (2009) Record of Decision (2009) ( ) – Dates subject to change Applicants HCP Submittal (May/June 2008) Comment Period

23 Public Scoping Summary Federal Register - Notice of Intent Published 10/11/2007 Media Announcements Legal notices & scoping meeting notifications were published in 22 different newspapers across the Applicants operating territory. Public Scoping Letters Public scoping notice letters were mailed to approximately 1,300 known interested parties. Letters included project info, scoping meeting date/location info, instructions on how to comment, and various contact options. Public Information Website

24 Open Houses / Public Scoping Meetings Conducted 13 open houses / public scoping meetings across Applicants operating territory in November Consisted of 6 information stations, each providing various take- home information pamphlets (including contact and how-to- comment info): 1.Welcome & Registration 2.HCP/ITP & NEPA Process Overview 3.NiSource Corporate/HCP Information (operated by Applicant) 4.NEPA and EIS 5.Proposed Covered Lands, Species, & Activities 6.Comment Station A comprehensive Public Scoping Summary will be prepared and made available as an Appendix to the EIS. Public Scoping Summary (cont)

25 What is Currently Happening? Applicant continuing to prepare their HCP Service continues to consult with and assist Applicant with the preparation of their HCP. HCP currently expected to be received May/June 2008*. The Service and their Environmental Contractor have initiated preliminary analyses of various EIS components including: Affected Environment Physical Biological Social DEIS available for comment Summer/Fall 2008* *Dates subject to change

26 Most Current Information Bob Kyle Sierra Club Ohio Chapter Forest Committee will provide an update.

27 Steps to assure broadest possible public input in the process: Learn as much as you can about this request. Note that USFWS has acknowledged that there has never been a request comparable in size and scope. Demand that any public comment opportunity include a town meeting style gathering as opposed to Open House. Watch for our notices of fall public input opportunities and be prepared to attend and provide comments. Attend these events with friends and neighbors.

28 Steps to assure broadest possible public input in the process: Write to your Congress Person and let them know about your opposition to this request and call for a stop to this unprecedented request. This sets a bad precedent for future permit requests. Remind your elected officials that there are many other utilities, gas and oil drillers, coal companies and logging/paper producers who also have to comply with The ESA who will take advantage of this opportunity.

29 Steps to assure broadest possible public input in the process: Please also send a copy of this letter to USFWS officials. Write to Mary Knapp, Ph. D, Field Supervisor U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 6950 Americana Parkway, Suite H Reynoldsburg, OH or T.J. Miller U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 1 Federal Drive Fort Snelling, MN 55111

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