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  Point Molate EIR Author Paid by Tribe
February 23, 2011

As those most interested probably know by now, the final EIR for Point Molate is now available. If you want to see a hard copy, you’ll have to go to a library or tediously print your own from the on-line version available by clicking below:

I have had a lot of complaints about the unavailability of hard copies, particularly for people who have put in hundreds of hours as volunteers on the Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee, the RAb or in non-profit organizations that have a specific interest in some aspect of the project and have been monitoring it for years.  Apparently, Upstream was not willing to pay for them.

The certification hearing before the City Council is currently scheduled for March 8, but Nat Bates has asked that it be postponed until March 15 due to his planned absence at the March 8 meeting. A decision has not yet been made.

I learned something very disturbing about this EIR process last night. The principal author, Analytical Environmental Services is somewhat of an EIR mill for tribal projects, especially casinos. And they are paid directly by the Guidiville Tribe for their work. An elected official with a conflict like this would likely go to jail.

To be fair, the arrangement, as I was told, is that the contract for the EIR is a three-way agreement among the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Analytical Environmental Services and the Guidiville Tribe. This doesn’t, however, instill confidence in a process that is supposed to be completely objective. The BIA apparently chose the consultant, not the City of Richmond, and it is clear the BIA likes Analytical Environmental Services a lot. It is also clear that Analytical Environmental Services has consistently delivered the desired results for the tribes who pay their bills.
EIRs done under City auspices at least have the appearance of some arm’s length relationship between the applicant and the EIR author with the City writing the check even though the applicant may be paying for it.
Although I believe CEQA is a brilliant and critical public policy tool, have a deep skepticism about the EIR industry itself (see EIR Consultant Demands Retraction, January 29, 2009). Representatives from Analytical Environmental Services maintained that they are able perform their services objectively and to maintain their integrity despite years of cozy relationships with tribes and casinos. You be the judge.