We have had many discussions lately about hearings and meetings. Most Government entities are required to offer public input so we thank Kirk MacKenzie for his explanation on the difference between the two, and goes into detail on what each one means to you, the person all these seemingly endless regulations affect.
Hearing vs. Meeting
A “hearing” and a “meeting” are two different things. Here’s the explanation.
- Any individual can request either one or both.
- The public can record either type.
- A meeting and hearing can be scheduled back to back.
- A “hearing” is the official review process prescribed in the Federal Register notice.
- FWS will try to talk you out of requesting an official review, claiming it takes too much time, effort, and expense. [Balderdash. No time or $$$ to hear from local residents and government representatives?]
- There is a submission deadline to request one.
- There is no discretion. If requested in time, the FWS must hold a hearing.
- It is an official meeting and will be recorded.
- Comments & written submissions will be put in the Federal Register.
- FWS attendees: field supervisor, public coordinator, scientist/biologist, transcriber, and facilitator.
- The facilitator will be a third party hired by FWS.
- Format: Short FWS presentation, then public comment.
- Everyone will be allowed to comment, but the time allocated to each will depend on how many want to speak and the time available. If there is not enough time to complete your remarks, your full presentation can be submitted in writing at the meeting, by email, or by mail to Arlington.
- Can be requested any time. There is no deadline.
- FWS probably has the option of holding one or not. (This needs to be checked.)
- Discussion will be recorded, but it is unofficial and won’t be reported in the Federal Register.
- There can be a back and forth discussion, but again, it’s optional how much FWS will say.
- Everyone will be allowed to comment, but the time allocated will depend on the time and how many want to speak.
- FWS attendees: field supervisor, public coordinator, species expert/biologist, rules drafter, mapping expert.
- Format: FWS presentation, public comments, FWS responses, Q&A, dialogue.
o An area can be designated as critical habitat whether or not the species lives there, or has ever lived there.
o Detailed habitat designation maps are available online that tell property boundaries within feet. They are called GIS shape files, but you will need ARCGIS, ARC View, or other software to view them. (Good luck!)
o More information can be found at www. FWS.gov/sacramento. In the right side scrolling box, wait for amphibians to show up then click on News Release to open a page with the documents, maps (not GIS maps), Q&A, and a link to the Critical Habitat data page.
o Before there is a finding, an economic analysis of the area must be done. This has already been started. The draft should be released within a couple of months, followed by another period for comments.
o You don’t have to be a scientist to make inputs. You can attach articles.
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For those of you who don’t know Kirk MacKenzie, you should. Here is his website: