The NSF has just posted the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and here are the links to the different parts including the Notice of Availability, Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), and the Appendices for the DEIS. (See below for a listing of topics in each.) Many of you may have received this notice in an email yesterday, November 8th, 2017, from Elizabeth Pentecost. Important dates are listed below:
• The written public comment period is open from November 8th, 2017 and runs through January 8, 2018. (Extra days were allocated beyond the normal comment period due to the holidays.)
• The Public Hearing will be held Thursday, November 30th, 2017 at the Green Bank Observatory from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
The DEIS identifies the Agency Preferred Option for future operation of the Green Bank Observatory as “Collaboration with interested parties for continued science and education focused operations with reduced NSF funding”.
It is important to remember that ‘reduced funding’ can be interpreted as anywhere from 0% of current funding to 99% of current funding. We have the opportunity right now to use our voices to call for the NSF to choose the “No Action Alternative: Continued NSF investment for science-focused operations” and thus provide full (100%) funding such that the Green Bank Observatory’s Open Skies Science and Education opportunities are maintained. Just to share some information, from reviewing 600 of the letters sent to the NSF and copied to the GBO during the first public comment period, people just like you from over 32 states and 13 countries voiced their unanimous support for funding the Green Bank Observatory. Many reasons were given including economic impacts at the local and state level, cultural reasons, historic reasons, technological considerations, etc., but the two outstanding reasons were education and research. The Open Skies policy allows anyone with a merit-based proposal to gain observing time, which means real, ground-breaking scientific research can be done by anyone from a student at a small college to a world-renowned scientist studying gravitational waves to a high school student with a great idea. The Open Skies opportunity is made possible by the NSF funding – which is why it is so important to let them know that full funding is the desired option for operating the GBO.
In addition – it must be remembered that while like-minded partnerships are beneficial, partnerships reduce the amount of observing time available to the many different people and institutions that do not have the resources to have their own research instrumentation on site or to partner with the GBO. Education opportunities and diverse research subjects would be reduced. Further, some of the adverse impacts identified in the historical assessment, mentioned in our last post, for this operating option include the removal of some of the historical structures identified as part of the GBO Historic District. It is imperative to the historical preservation of the Green Bank Observatory that NSF provide full funding to continue to operate the facility. Additionally, reduced funding could impact staffing levels and thus adversely impact the surrounding community in so many ways – economics, youth leaders, local education, emergency response, support of the arts, etc.
As we did for the first public comment period, we will be providing resources here for you to use to make it easier for you to compose a public comment and we will let you know who to send a copy to in Congress such that they too can encourage the NSF to provide full funding to the Green Bank Observatory. We should have that information out soon. Please keep checking our Facebook page and website (http://gogreenbankobservatory.org/) as well as the Green Bank Observatory’s Facebook page and webpage. Also, please message us here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.
Thank you for your support, and GO! Green Bank Observatory!
(See below for topics included in the DEIS and Appendices.)
Included in the DEIS is:
Purpose and Need
Description of Proposed Action and Alternatives
Notification, Public Involvement, and Consulted Parties
List of Preparers
Included in the Appendices:
Historic Context, Results, Conclusion
Surveyed Built Environment Resource
Environmental Baseline Study
Environmental Data Resources
Government Records Researched
Ariel Photographs and Topographic Maps
Temporary Housing Options
Employment & Median Earnings
List of All Evaluated Properties at GBO
GBO Historic District Boundary
48 HPI Forms
Section 106 Correspondence
EPA EJScreen Results
Transcripts – Public Scoping Meetings 1 and 2 11/9/2016
Scoping Comment Matrix (includes written comments submitted)
List of Research Papers from GBO