The Olympic Forest Coalition is working with the West Coast Action Alliance and Karen Sullivan, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, to object to the U.S. Forest Service Notice of Decision/Finding of No Significant Impact (ND/FONSI). This is an administrative step that will allow the Forest Service to issue a 5-year special use permit to the Navy, allowing it to use roads in the Olympic National Forest for electronic warfare training exercises. The permit will allow the Navy to station mobile emitters on these roads that Growler jets and ships will use in overflights and electromagnetic targeting, 260 days per year, 8–16 hours per day, including weekends.
Why OFCO and the West Coast Action Alliance are submitting an objection:
- The Navy special use permit application and the U.S. Forest Service decision improperly “segmented” the electronic emitters from the directly associated training exercises—specifically, jet overflights—in order to get findings that there will be no significant impacts. This is illegal. The training exercises can be carried out on Dept. of Defense lands and not endangered species (Marbled Murrelets and Northern Spotted Owl) habitat.
- The U.S. Forest Service used the Navy’s Environmental Assessment (2014) and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion (2016) as the basis for its finding of no significant impact. Both documents excluded the cumulative actions and cumulative impacts from the directly related training activities (overflights). The analysis used outdated, inadequate, incomplete and invalid data and science.
- Our objection proposes that the U.S. Forest Service complete a full Environmental Impact Statement with adequate science, cumulative actions and impacts, and full disclosure of all documents and public participation processes. We are requesting a meeting to hear their response to our objection.
Objections are due by Friday, January 13. The rules say that you can’t object if you didn’t comment in 2014, unless there is significantly new information. And there is! You may submit your own objection. Follow West Coast Action Alliance advice here. You can read more information on the special use permit here.
Remember, as Karen says, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Watch for further action on related decisions and take action. Sign up for OFCO newsletters and e-alerts by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org, and check the West Coast Action Alliance site for updates.