WAPA held two virtual scoping meetings on December 15, 2021, as part of the 30-day public scoping period, to solicit input on issues to be addressed in the Interconnection Project EA. WAPA invited federal, state, and local agencies to the first meeting and invited the public, including landowners, to the second meeting. WAPA published newspaper announcements and sent mailers to landowners in proximity to the project area that included Interconnection Project information, meeting information, and a comment card. Seven members of the public and four agency staff attended the virtual scoping meetings.
WAPA published the Draft EA for public comment on April 13, 2022. WAPA sent letters to federal, state, and local agencies in addition to landowners to provide notification of the Draft EA and to solicit review and comment. WAPA ran five weekly newspaper announcements in the Antelope County News from April 13, 2022, through May 11, 2022. The public comment period ran through May 13, 2022.
In response to a public comment received on the Draft EA on May 25, 2022, WAPA decided to extend the public comment period through June 8, 2022. WAPA ran three additional weekly newspaper announcements in the Antelope County News from May 25, 2022, through June 8, 2022. Notification letters were again sent to federal, state, and local agencies and landowners. This comment period extension reflected no changes to previously available documents, including the Draft EA, figures, and appendices. WAPA retitled the previously available appendices to make them more easily identifiable on the website.
Through the public comment period on the Draft EA, WAPA received 16 submissions (emails, letters, and voicemails) from 14 landowners or other stakeholders and two state agencies (NDEE and Nebraska Department of Natural Resources), which included 26 individual comments. Comment topics included general support; general opposition; project description; public involvement process; water resources; socioeconomics and environmental justice; hazardous materials and waste; air quality, greenhouse gases, and climate change; regulatory framework; and geology, minerals, and paleontology resources. Two comments resulted in revisions to the Final EA. Seven of the comments resulted in responses that 1) clarified where, in the Draft EA, information addressing the comment was already provided or 2) explained why the comment did not otherwise warrant a change in the Final EA. The remaining 17 comments either provided factual information or statements of support or opposition that did not require a response.
A summary of all public comments received during scoping and on the Draft EA, as well as responses, is included in Appendix J of the Final EA (available for download below).