Oooooh, good question to start a debate! EIRs were designed to incorporate topics that are important to many people, including air and water quality issues, cultural impacts, agriculture, etc. The importance of anyone facet of the process is dependent on the person, as well as how much of an impact the reported project is causing.
In terms of the process itself, I would personally say the open comment and review portion, which allows the public to provide input, is the most important. It allows the communities that may be impacted to provide input on mitigation efforts, the project itself, etc. on all aspects of the project that may be important to them.
I also agree that the most important part of the environmental review process is public disclosure. This gives the public a chance to bring forth any issues that the project proponent needs to address and consider before implementing the project. Without this opportunity, the project proponent may neglect to evaluate or mitigate some issues not thought of before or the decision-making process the project proponent took is not justified. The public deserves a chance to voice their opinions for public projects that could potentially impact them for a long time.
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