Opinion

San Juan solid waste decision deserves attention from the public | Editorial

The site of the solid waste transfer station is one of the most significant decisions county officials will make this year.

If a new site is selected, neighborhoods and streets will certainly be affected. If a new site is selected or if the transfer station stays where it is, there will be a significant investment of financial resources. The county Public Works Department is running out of time on its options — the state Department of Ecology has ordered the county to pick a new site or fix the existing one.

You owe it to yourself to attend the public meeting Thursday, 4:30-6:30 p.m., in the San Juan Island Fire Station at 1011 Mullis St. You’ll meet county planners, utility officials and authors of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the San Juan Island Solid Waste Transfer Station replacement project. And you’ll be able to provide input on the document.

The Journal reporting staff has long studied and reported on this issue, and the newspaper has offered editorials on whether a new transfer station should be developed. The newspaper is again formulating an editorial opinion of what we believe is the best course.

But first, we believe it’s important that islanders attend the meeting Thursday, study the draft Environmental Impact Statement, ask questions and provide input. State law requires that all formally submitted comments must be considered and addressed before the final environmental impact study can be issued.

You can submit written comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement anytime until 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 12. Oral comments will be accepted at a hearing scheduled for Sept. 11, 5-7 p.m., at the Mullis Street fire station.

The Solid Waste Advisory Committee has scheduled additional meetings in September and October to consider which site to recommend to the County Council. The committee is expected to forward its recommendation to the council in time for a final site selection to be made in January.

Here’s how you can submit written comments.

n E-mail: solidwasteplanning@sanjuanco.com

n Regular mail: Transfer Station Comments, Community Development and Planning, P.O. Box 947, Friday Harbor 98250.

n Hand deliver: Community Development and Planning, 135 Rhone St., Friday Harbor.

And, of course, attend the public meetings that are coming up. Start by attending the meeting Thursday, 4:30 p.m., at the fire station.

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