The first formal opportunity for public input when preparing an EIS is the “Scoping” process. The Public Scoping Period for the Resolution Copper Project and Land Exchange EIS began with the publication of the Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register on March 18, 2016. The Tonto National Forest planned for a 60-day Public Scoping Period, making May 17, 2016, the original closeout date for comments. Due to public interest and feedback, the Forest Supervisor, Tonto National Forest, extended the Public Scoping Period an additional 60 days establishing July 18, 2016, as the new closeout date for comments.
During the Scoping Period, Scoping Meetings were held in the project area for interested and affected individuals, groups and organizations, as well as local, state and tribal governmental agencies. These meetings provided the public with an opportunity to ask questions; learn more about the proposed project; and provide comments on issues and concerns that should be addressed in the EIS and alternatives that should be evaluated. The Tonto National Forest held a total of 5 Scoping Meetings:
March 31, 2016 – Queen Valley, AZ
Queen Valley Recreation Hall, 1478 East Queen Valley Drive, Queen Valley, AZ
Transcript Available - Download PDF, 286 KB
April 5, 2016 – Globe, AZ
Elks Lodge, 1775 East Maple Street, Globe, AZ
Transcript Available - Download PDF, 401 KB
April 6, 2016 – Gilbert, AZ
Southwest Regional Library, 775 North Greenfield Road, Gilbert, AZ
Transcript Available - Download PDF, 417 KB
June 9, 2016 – San Tan Valley, AZ
Central Arizona College, San Tan Campus, 3736 E Bella Vista Rd, San Tan Valley, AZ
*NOTE: The June 9 meeting in San Tan Valley was added as a fifth scoping session as a result of public interest and feedback.
Public comments received by July 18, 2016, were summarized in a Scoping Summary Report. At the end of the EIS process, individuals who provided timely and specific written comments will be eligible to file an objection under 36 CFR 218.8. For objection eligibility, each individual or representative from each entity submitting timely and specific comments must either sign the comment or verify identity upon request. Issues raised in an objection must be based upon previously submitted written comments regarding the proposed action unless based on new information arising after the designated comment opportunities.
Tonto National Forest officials sought specific comments to the proposed action, appropriate information that could be pertinent to analysis of environmental effects, identification of significant issues, and identification of potential alternatives. Although comments are welcome any time during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, those received by July 18, 2016, were most useful. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide the agency with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent environmental documents.