Category Archive: Federal Lands

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Navy Not Following Process

NEPAYesterday we received the news that the Navy has made its Record of Decision (ROD) on the Section 106 review for the U.S. Navy’s Northwest Training and Testing (NWTT) Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS}. They plan to publish the ROD on Monday, November 9.

In a letter sent to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), the Navy claims that they have complied with the requirements as set forth in the statute and regulations.

However, when we interviewed the SHPO, we were informed that their office has made it abundantly clear that the process is far from complete. We have been given permission to publish the letter the SHPO received from the Navy, the SHPO’s reply objecting to such abrupt termination of ongoing discussions, and the Navy’s reply to that.

Click below to read each letter.

Letter from Dept. of the Navy to Dr. Allyson Brooks, Nov, 5, 2015

Letter from Dr. Allyson Brooks to Dept. of the Navy, Nov, 6, 2015

Email from Navy Cultural Resources to Dr. Allyson Brooks, Nov. 6, 2015

Send an email today to William Manley, Navy Deputy Federal Preservation Officer, and John Mosher, COMPACFLT, and let them know this process must be fully completed because the Navy needs to adhere to the same rules and regulations the rest of us have to follow. We are not being unpatriotic; we simply want the Navy to obey our laws.

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Did the U.S. Navy Break Federal Laws to Push War Games Over National Forests?

JetNEPA_Map2

The West Coast Action Alliance, along with OFCO, has substantiated, through public records, just how much the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rules have been violated by this military agency. Requesting accountability from our government is not unpatriotic—on the contrary, it displays the concern we all have in making sure that our military is not criticized unfairly, while at the same time ascertaining that no public agency holds itself above the law.

This week I received a very expensive looking packet from the U.S. Navy with a cover letter detailing how the complaints of the citizens are “myth.”

The recently published article by Dahr Jamal, of Truthout.org, accurately describes how our military is not adhering to environmental laws/requirements—the same laws that the rest of us have to follow.

Please read Dahr Jamal’s article and decide for yourself.

www.truth-out.org/news/item/33387-us-navy-allegedly-broke-federal-laws-to-push-forward-electromagnetic-war-training-over-national-forests

Connie Gallant
President

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Joint Memorandum from West Coast Action Alliance and Olympic Forest Coalition Sent to U.S. Navy

This week we sent a formal memorandum, along with a letter from UNESCO, to the U.S. Navy senior command and to federal, state and local elected officials in Northern California, Oregon and Washington, and to other interested parties, about the U.S. Navy’s current course of action in issuing a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Northwest Testing and Training, in an unlawful manner. The area covered in this Final EIS extends from Northern California to Alaska, a huge area of concern.

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U.S. Army Extends Comment Period to Nov. 3

[Please click here for background info.]

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The Aviation Division within the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) proposes to establish three off-base helicopter training areas and one mountain training area. The U.S. Army is the lead Federal agency for the proposed action. The proposed training areas would support training operations stationed out of JBLM, but would be located off-base within Washington state.

The Army has prepared a scoping document which is intended to provide interested parties the proposed scope of the Environmental Assessment and to seek additional information pertinent to this analysis. If you have any information that would assist us in conducting an accurate and thorough analysis of the project-specific and cumulative effects associated with the proposed project, you are encouraged to submit them during the scoping period, which has been extended through November 3, 2015. The scoping document including project maps, and a comment form are located at:

www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/publicworks/sites/envir/eia.aspx

To submit comments, send an email to usarmy.jblm.imcom.list.dpw-eis@mail.mil

or write to:

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
DIRECTORATE OF PUBLIC WORKS
ATTN ENVIRONMENTAL DIVISION (NEPA)
2012 LIGGETT AVE, BOX 339500 MS 17
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA 98433-9500

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If you comment via email, we would appreciate it if you would include a “cc” or “bcc” to OFCO. Thank you!

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No Helicopters in the Wilderness

blackhawk_wildernessby The Herald Editorial Board
Published: Sunday, August 9, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
(reprinted with permission)

Our national forests have long been managed for multiple uses. Congress made the customary practice official in 1960 and specified that national forests would be administered for their renewable resources of timber, rangeland and water as well as for recreation opportunities and wildlife preservation.

We’re struggling to see where “military training” fits in among those uses.

Following the U.S. Navy’s proposal to conduct electronic warfare training for crews of EA-18G Growler jets based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in parts of the Olympic National Forest and on state Department of Natural Resources land, the U.S. Army is now proposing the use of areas within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, at least one of those on the boundary of a wilderness area, for the training of helicopter crews from Joint Base Lewis McChord.

The Army is seeking to establish seven mountain training areas on the eastern edge of the North Cascades National Forest, in a larger area that stretches from near Leavenworth north to the Canadian border. The training area would allow, the Army told the Seattle Times, up to 75 practice landings a month at seven landing training areas throughout the year. The aircraft involved include the massive twin-rotor Chinook, and the smaller Black Hawk and Apache helicopters.

A coalition of 20 environmental and recreational groups, including area Audubon Society chapters, The Mountaineers and Washington Trails Association, in their comment to the Army on its proposal, recognizes the need for the military to provide training, but faults the Army’s proposal in several respects:

Other than a standard no-action option, there are no other alternatives proposed than the seven mountain training areas listed.

One of the training zones appears to sit on the boundary or within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area, west of Leavenworth. Three of the six landing zones are near other wilderness areas, including the Pasayten, Lake Chelan, Glacier Peak and Henry M. Jackson wildernesses. Wilderness areas, under the federal act that created them in 1964, are specifically off limits to motorized vehicles and the landing of aircraft.

Each of the seven training areas would be located directly on heavily used trails, including the internationally revered Pacific Crest Trail, within the national forest, with several located as close as a mile to trailside campgrounds. One landing site is less than 10 miles from the North Cascades National Park.

Wisely, the Army has extended the public comment period for its environmental assessment of its proposal until Sept. 4. Comments can be emailed to usarmy.jblm.imcom.list.dpw-eis@mail.mil.

At the very least, the Army will need to cross off its list the one landing zone within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, and it should also search out other more suitable sites that don’t conflict with the quiet enjoyment of trails and campgrounds. As well, those landing zones can’t be allowed to adversely affect wildlife habitat areas.

These lands were set aside to benefit all, but when a proposal, especially a use not originally intended, threatens one or more historic uses, namely recreation and wildlife, the answer ought to be no.