The period of time to reply to Onondaga Lake's Restoration Plan was too short. It was put out there quickly with no advance.
NOON (Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation) asks your help. Here is an email I received.
Dear NOON Supporters:
As you know, Onondaga Lake holds a special place as the site where the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was formed. As you'll be reminded below, it was defiled for many decades by greedy corporations and indifferent government.
A restoration plan has been proposed with very little time for public input. Please take a few minutes to send an email demanding a longer time frame and more inclusive process.
A suggested template is below, but it's always better to use as much of your own language as possible. Please share with others!
Dear friends -
We need your help to push for a longer public comment period for the proposed Onondaga Lake restoration projects, and an actual public hearing to be held!
Onondaga Lake is sacred to the Haudenosaunee. It is where the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was formed over 1000 years ago. Over the past 150 years, pollution by industries turned Onondaga Lake into a Superfund site, and the "completed" remediation is leaving waste in and around the lake for future generations to have to deal with. The Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration projects are meant to compensate for loss of use; the current projects are inadequate.
The proposed restoration projects were released on April 24th. The only evening opportunity to ask questions about the plan was just three days later on April 27th. Three more public presentations about the plan were scheduled, lamely piggybacking on other groups' meetings during daytime hours and offering only the opportunity to submit written comments. Comments are currently due on June 2.
The plan and further information can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website. Further suggested comments will be shared, but we and others need time to better evaluate the proposals.
Please write a letter or copy the letter below into an email, modify as you want, and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please bcc: email@example.com so we know how many are sent!
Dear Ms. Secord -
I am writing to ask that the Trustees for Onondaga Lake extend the public comment period for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for another 90 days. I also ask that the Trustees provide an opportunity for people to give verbal comment, not just written comments, and host meetings in the evenings in order to be accessible to working people, with adequate public notice, in order to reach more diverse populations. The public is very interested in the restoration of Onondaga Lake and should be granted the right to make verbal comments on the record, not simply ask questions after a public presentation.
Further, please provide more information on the projects accepted or rejected. The proposed projects overwhelmingly favor projects proposed by the trustees themselves, rather than publicly submitted projects. The form for submitting proposed projects had limited space and many groups expected the Trustees to contact them for more details. Dismissing those projects as not having enough information is ridiculous and those groups should be given time to submit detailed plans, and for the public to review those plans.
[Your Name Here]
Thank you for your help!
American Indian Law Alliance
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The American Indian Law Alliance (AILA) is an Indigenous NGO in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, (ECOSOC).