Dear Editor,

The MDEQ public comment meeting in Stephenson regarding Aquila’s mining permit amendment should absolutely be postponed and the time frame for public comment extended because: 1) The public did not have sufficient time to review the 900-plus pages of the amendment during the holidays; and 2) the document itself was completely inaccessible to many people because the computer link was either inoperable or too complicated for the average citizen to navigate.

A friend of mine who is a highly-intelligent professor had to engage a computer consultant in order to locate the amendment online. I also understand that Apple’s Safari application did not work at all, and it was suggested by a local resident to try using Firefox for an internet browser. Personally, I went to the MDEQ site recommended in the MDEQ newspaper article and on first try was informed that the page no longer existed; on a later attempt I was defeated by a complicated navigation page requiring a password.

People are struggling to gain access to the amendment. In order for the public to have a chance to review it, the document should be readily available with no bells and whistles. Considering the excessive length of it (two volumes) and complexity, there was neither enough time for anyone to digest it nor formulate comments. It is an obvious ploy by Aquila to release the amendment at year’s end, immediately preceding the Christmas/New Year holidays.

Timing was obviously planned by Aquila to make it challenging for us to read and understand these gigantic files, a tactic they have previously employed with the original mining permit application. Aquila seems to get a lot of time to prepare documents for submission to the MDEQ, but the public receives very short notices. Come on, folks, you can be legal and follow the rules; but in consideration of the public, at least be fair.


Lea Jane Burie