One of the first steps in the preparation of an EIS is to understand the issues that should be considered while preparing the document. These issues will define the scope of both the alternatives that will be considered and the analysis that will need to be conducted. For this reason, the process of discovering these issues is called “Scoping” and is a process that involves asking the public, stakeholders, tribes, cooperating agencies, and Forest specialists to help identify the most important issues to be analyzed. Three documents have been prepared that document the scoping process for the Resolution Copper Project and Land Exchange EIS.
- The Scoping Report (Final, dated March 2017) summarizes the comments submitted to the Tonto National Forest during the public comment period, heard during public meetings, or raised by internal Forest staff, cooperating agencies, or tribes. Each comment submitted is assigned a code to identify the issue and concern being raised. The Scoping Report provides an overview of the issues and concerns raised during scoping, but is not intended to capture each comment individually.
- The Summary of Issues Identified through Scoping Process (Draft Final, dated May 2017) states the individual issues that will be analyzed in the Draft EIS, which have been developed from the scoping comments. This report also includes a list of specific factors that will be used to analyze each issue. A total of 14 overarching issue statements are described in this report.
- The Public Concern Statements (Final, dated May 2017) is a linking document that further describes how individual comments were condensed into the 14 issue statements. A total of 474 “public concern statements” were developed from the scoping comments; each individual scoping comment is linked to one of the public concern statements. This report also identifies which issue addresses each public concern statement. In this manner, it is possible to identify which issue is meant to address any given scoping comment. If the public concern statement represents a concern not carried forward in an issue statement, the rationale for this decision is listed.
Following the Scoping process, the next step in the EIS preparation is to develop alternatives to the proposed action. Alternatives respond to the individual issues developed during the scoping process and seek to improve upon the proposed action. The alternatives developed and considered will be detailed in the upcoming Alternatives Evaluation Report, which is scheduled for release by the end of 2017.