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About our story on APA commissioners
November 16, 2011 - Jessica Collier
If you haven't already, check out Chris Knight's story today on the APA commissioners.
We thought it would be a good idea to take a look at each of the commissioners. It's been a long, long time since the commissioners were even involved in the ACR review process — not since 2007 when they voted to send it to an adjudicatory hearing. I think Chris reported that only four of those commissioners remain on the board today.
So while some people following the ACR may be super familiar with the hearing's cast of characters, they might not know the first thing about the commissioners. Even as a reporter, I only know a tiny bit about them, which is why it was super helpful to have Chris, who regularly covers the APA for the Enterprise, to help out.
During the hearing, I was often asked by people how they thought the APA was leaning. Well, that was a tough question. The APA hearing staff in a lot of ways was supportive of the project, poking holes in arguments from environmental groups and that sort of thing. But that staff is only allowed to communicate with commissioners about the project through the hearing record, and mainly through their closing and reply briefs. And they declined to make a recommendation one way or the other through their closing brief, saying that only the board can decide if the project will have an undue adverse impact.
Commissioners will have to make their decisions based solely on the hearing record. The agency's Executive Team, a whole other group of staffers, will help point to where in the record information is if commissioners have any questions, but they won't make any recommendations either.
So, that means to say, I have no idea how the APA is leaning! I can say one thing for sure: There is a ton of pressure on them from all sides on this project.
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