The deadline for comments for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was on October 9th. BVPA submitted over 200 comments reflecting concerns on issues relating to environmental, economic and social issues.
Mostly BVPA's concentration was on the BOP's claims that development in Brush Valley would have no negative environmental impact on the site. Recently BVPA received comments from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources in which the two agencies co-authored there disapproval of the Bureau of Prisons placing a prison in Brush Valley. Click here to read the letters from DEP & DCNR, EPA, the US Department of Interior and the PA Fish & Boat Commission as well as local political leaders.
BVPA currently is defended by John Childe, Esq, an attorney with the Pennslvania Environmental Defense Foundation. In addition, various environmental attorneys and consultants have donated their time and expertise to BVPA's legal defense.
The Bureau of Prisons must consider all the comments that have been submitted when they complete the final EIS. The BVPA is ready to go to court to stop the destruction of Brush Valley and believes that the EIS must undergo intensive rewriting in order to effectively support the building of a prison on this site.
It is also important to note that the proponents of the prison have been very manipulative in their attempts to bring the prison to Brush Valley. One very blatant example of this is at the First Scoping Meeting held by the BOP in May 2000. This meeting invited members of the public to speak their minds on the issue of a prison in the community. Unfortunately, the meeting was fixed very early on. Before members of the public had arrived, a sign in sheet was created, forging various names of individuals who supported the prison in Brush Valley.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has reluctantly given to the BVPA copies of the speaker sign-in sheets (Click Here to view sign-in sheets!) from the first BOP scoping meeting held in Shamokin in May 2000. These sheets show the names of the most die-hard prison supporters written in, by what seems to have been the same one or two people, so that they could speak first. Further down the sheets many of these same names appear again, only to have been crossed out. Apparently they inadvertently signed again in their own handwriting, not knowing, or forgetting, that they had already been pre-signed by someone else. Also, the page numbers of the sheets were tampered with. By insuring that only prison supporters could speak first, while the media and many citizens were present to hear their well scripted, yet nauseating propaganda, the illusion was formed that the people of our area overwhelmingly approved . Remember that according to the BOP these meetings are held to determine the opinion of the CITIZENS, not just as a pep rally put on by prison supporters. It seems that altering the speaking list, along with strategically released news stories, may have been part of a scheme by prison supporters to create the false perception that a prison in Brush Valley is a "done deal", which of course, it is not. Scanned copies of the sign in sheets can be seen on the BVPA web site. Judge for yourself.