Attending an Environmental Impact Report Hearing: One Bay Area By Andrew Saephan

EIRhearingAs soon as I stepped into the conference room (with Kasey, Arnold, Emily, Thanh, Leah, and Jill), I realized that I was going to participate in something really important in my community. This public bearing was about a proposed plan to redesign the neighborhood and transportation to make the community and surrounding metropolitan areas more ‘sustainable’. This public hearing sparked quite a few interests in me. First the plan has to do a lot about public transportation which I take often because I cannot drive. Another reason was that it was proposed with the main intention to make things more sustainable. Moreover, I was interested because my intended major in college is environmental planning.

There were not many people there, I was surprised because on a pamphlet it said it notified 7 million people about the hearings all over the bay. However in Oakland (representing Alameda County), only about 40 people showed up. That really surprised me, especially when the committee stated that it basically notified the entire Bay Area! I thought there were going to hundreds of people there. Either I’m wrong or only .00000571(40/7million) percent of people care about their future. Thus this claim made by the plan committee is very debatable.

Another point that was very interesting to me is that, if the plan were to be initiated, then it would displace thousands of families so that it could attract richer people. This struck sympathy in me and I felt for the low income that would be displaced. The committee seemed to have taken this advice in particularly well taking note on that to address that in their revision of the proposed planning.

One thing that shocked me was that Kasey went up in from of the board and public to share her opinions on public transportation. She advocated that this plan should incorporate more hydrogen fuel-cell buses and having the bus increase their service to make it more friendly to the people who rely on them as their means of transportation. For example she touched base on how the on hydrogen fuel cell bus was amazing and that despite its awesomeness, there needs to be more buses during time of rush hour and mass commute.

In the end, a man thanked all of the youth for attending the meeting because we really struck him with the fact that youth still actually cared about how policies will affect our lives and our environment. All in all, it was great to have witnessed how our system of government works. This plan is required and inevitable but to know about it is another thing. I believe that with my knowledge the changes that are about to occur will not be too much a shock for me. and who knows, I may even partake in it after I successfully get through college.

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