Friday, June 24, 2011

USACE FOIA factoids

Here are some interesting factoids about the USACE comments received today.

A total of 60 comments were in the USACE packet.

Of those, 4 were from official entities - LCRA, TPWD, City of Bastrop and Bastrop County. Only 2 environmental organizations were represented - Environmental Stewardship and Sierra Club. StopCTA has previously obtained and posted all these documents.

Of the remaining comments, 52 were from concerned citizens. With a total of 35, Cedar Creek residents posted twice as many as Elgin residents who came in with 17 (including a comment missing from the packet but obtained earlier). Only a few of the more original and informative submissions will be scanned and posted to the site because most of them are very repetitive (often word for word). Look for the new additions in the next day or two.

As anticipated, only 2 comments supported the airport and neither discussed issues germane to the USACE permit. These offerings reveal some of the most interesting factoids.

The first, received April 25th, consists of one sentence scribbled at the bottom of a letter that ECO-Merge appears to have sent to its supporters on March 24 in an attempt to generate positive input to the USACE Public Notice. It took a good while to decipher the handwriting which simply says “I strongly support the Ecomerge project”. The signature is pretty illegible but might be D. or Don Hill.

Interestingly, the ECO-Merge call-to-action letter is dated the day BEFORE the USACE posted the Public Notice on March 25th. Most likely it was blasted to anyone who ever expressed support for the project. As usual, it begins with the hype we’ve come to expect. But please note that the USACE contact addresses are different than those in the Public Notice and it appears that a second page, which would have contained the signature, was not included in the submission.

The second letter received on May 9th, the deadline for comments, comes from Bill Graves, the Superintendent of the Elgin Independent School District. Mr. Graves appears to have imbibed a good dose of Carpenter Koolaid! It’s all about money and how Carpenter is going to save the day! (Maybe he believes in the tooth fairy too.) There is praise and confidence that the developers are addressing ’sound, safety, and infrastructure’ issues in a proactive manner and he sees ‘no downside in the project’. It’s sad that this ‘educator’ hasn’t done his homework. There is none so blind as he who dreams of a windfall . . .

That’s about it for now.

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