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Scoping Comments

Progressives for Immigration Reform solicited public comments at the commencement of our Environmental Impact Statement on United States immigration policy. The initial comment or “scoping” period ran from August 1 through October 31, 2012.

The main policy decision to be evaluated in this EIS is the following: at what level should Congress set annual immigration into the United States?

We initially proposed to undertake detailed analyses examining the likely ecological impacts of different population sizes in six key areas:

  • urban sprawl and farmland loss
  • water demands and withdrawals from natural systems
  • greenhouse gas emissions and resultant climate change
  • habitat loss and impacts on biodiversity
  • energy demands and national security implications
  • and the international ecological impacts of U.S. immigration policies.

For the scoping process, suggestions regarding which environmental impacts to focus on and which specific alternatives to analyze in depth were particularly solicited, but comments regarding any aspect of the EIS or immigration policy were appreciatively received.

We received a little over two dozen formal comments on the EIS proposal. These are all reproduced here, unedited, followed by a response from the principle investigators in italics.

We believe these comments are a valuable compendium showing how Americans today think about the relationship between immigration, population growth and the environment.

In a related effort, PFIR contacted approximately 3,000 environmental leaders around the country, including about 1,800 mid-level Sierra Club leaders at the state chapter and local group levels. A selection of the Sierra Club leaders comments regarding the EIS project can be found here.

We are grateful that so many of our fellow citizens (and even one commentator from Australia) took the time to review this project and provide criticism, encouragement, or suggestions for its improvement. Thanks to all who participated.

Although the formal scoping period is complete, please feel free to contact us with further ideas or comments. Check back in at this website in the coming weeks for a “scoping report” detailing what we learned through the scoping process, an announcement of the alternatives we have chosen for detailed analysis in the EIS, and preliminary population projections to 2050, 2100 and 2200 under different immigration scenarios.