43 CFR 10005.7 - Agency consultation and public involvement.
The Commission considers agency consultation and public involvement to be central components of the planning process. Interested parties will be given the opportunity to become involved at several stages in the plan development, process. The major opportunities are as follows:
(a) Planning rule development. The initial opportunity for involvement occurs in the preparation of this planning rule, through providing written or oral comment to the Commission prior to adoption.
(b) Project recommendations. The next opportunity is in the preparation of recommendations for projects to be included in the Commission's plan. The Commission will make a formal announcement that it is soliciting recommendations for potential projects. Interested parties will have ninety days within which to respond. Commission staff will, upon request and as dictated by work load, provide guidance and other assistance in the preparation of project recommendations. Interested parties are encouraged to work cooperatively with others in the preparation of joint recommendations. Commission staff will facilitate this as appropriate. Section 10005.18 provides additional direction on this. At the end of the ninety day period the Commission will make all recommendations received during that time available for public review. These will be available at the Commission office during normal business hours. Copies will also be provided to those requesting them at a reasonable charge.
(c) Plan preparation. At the close of the ninety day project solicitation period, the Commission will proceed to prepare a draft plan. Several opportunities for agency consultation and public involvement will be provided during the preparation of the plan. One or more public briefings will be held during this period. Briefings will be announced in appropriate local and regional media. Work sessions may also be held, sponsored either by the Commission or jointly with other interested parties, to discuss individual projects or other topics of general interest. Interested parties may also request meetings with Commission staff to discuss specific projects or issues. The availability of staff for such meetings will be dictated by work load. During this time, interested parties may also attend, and participate in, Commission meetings where the various aspects of the plan are discussed. Written comments will also be accepted during the plan preparation period.
(d) Review of draft plan. Following release of the draft plan, interested parties will be given thirty days within which to provide formal written comments. During this time, interested parties may request meetings with Commission staff to discuss aspects of the draft plan. The Commission will also receive comments on the draft plan at appropriate times during regularly scheduled Commission meetings. The Commission may, at its discretion, convene one or more public meetings to discuss issues related to the draft plan.
(e) Final plan. The release of the final plan will be announced in the media and copies made available to the public. As warranted, the Commission may hold one or more meetings to brief interested parties on the final plan.
(f) Amendments to the plan. The opportunities for agency consultation and public involvement described above will also be provided each time the Commission undertakes a comprehensive revision of the plan. In addition, the Commission will give appropriate public notice and grant an opportunity to comment at such times as the Commission is considering other, less comprehensive amendments. Section 10005.21 provides additional information on how agencies and the public may become involved in the plan amendment process.