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Navy Must Do a New Environmental Impact Statement on Growler Fleet

New OFCO board member Karen Sullivan, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service marine biologist, wrote OFCO’s recent comments on the Navy Whidbey Island Growler Fleet Expansion Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) submitted February 23. Karen has had a very trying few months, with four major proposals for  potentially damaging activities (military and forestry) requiring our attention and a considered response. Four—with hundreds of pages of technical and scientific materials—and had major gaps and inadequate data in the body of material. Fortunately Karen is seen widely as the expert on Navy expansion activities in our area and on endangered species. Our conclusion: The Navy must revise its analysis and publish a complete DEIS that takes into account the full picture—all 160 Growlers in the fleet and all of their operations over our forests and marine waters. Anything less fails to observe the public process meant to protect the local environment and health of local communities.

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Broad Coalition of Rural Americans Cheer Wild Olympics Act Reintroduction as Local Endorsements Increase

Senator Murray and Congressman Kilmer have introduced the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The bill would protect environmentally sensitive parts of the Olympic Peninsula, support outdoor recreation opportunities, and preserve and grow jobs on the Olympic Peninsula. “It is critical that we keep fighting to ensure these pristine areas of the Olympic Peninsula are preserved for generations to come,” Murray said.

Read more …

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Urgent Action: Comment Letters to State Needed to Stop Marbled Murrelet Extinction on State Lands

Feb. 22 – Hear Expert Live on Conservation Alternative

Write Comment by March 9, 5 PM, to Support Conservation Alternative

Urgent action is needed now to support the Conservation Alternative from the Marbled Murrelet Survival Project to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

OFCO members have worked for over 30 years to ensure that Marbled Murrelets, an endangered species designated at the federal and state levels, survive the multiple challenges from environmental degradation of the forest and marine environments where they live. The clock has run down; the time to act is NOW.

DNR’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Long-Term Conservation Strategy proposes alternatives that will not protect this important indicator species for our area. The Marbled Murrelet Survival Project, including OFCO and other important conservation organizations, has commissioned scientific and economic experts to propose an alternative that will protect the species: the Conservation Alternative. We need your support immediately!

Tune in to the webinar on Feb. 22 and hear scientific expert Dr. Kara Whittaker explain our proposal. Write in support of the alternative by March 9. Decades of work have come down to this!

Webinar: Wed., Feb. 22, 2 PM PT
Join the webinar with access to presentation and materials: You have to go online first!
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/957452301
Dial in for phone only: United States: +1 (408) 650-3123  Access Code: 957-452-301
Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Learn about and submit your comment letter in support of the Conservation Alternative.

PLEASE write a personal and organizational comment letter in support of the Conservation Alternative to protect the Marbled Murrelet by March 9, 5 PM.

Comments should be submitted to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Center at sepacenter@dnr.wa.gov or SEPA Center, PO Box 47015, Olympia, WA 98504-7015. The subject line of all comments should include “SEPA File No. 12-042001.” For more information on the DEIS, click here.

Every comment will matter in this 11th hour to protect this endangered species. Write from your heart, and your head! Encourage your family to write. Every letter matters! If you want more information about the Conservation Alternative to write your letter, contact Patricia at info@olympicforest.org. We will have points for your letter.

Watch our new Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, on the need to protect the Marbled Murrelet here.

Please also write about the timber-cutting levels tied to the Long-Term Conservation Strategy; we need your comments on that too, by March 9, 5 PM. The subject line of those comments should include “SEPA File No. 15-012901.” See: www.dnr.wa.gov/shc. They are twins; one impacts the other.

Thank you!

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OFCO Objects to Electronic Warfare Training in Olympics

Click here to read the Objection Letter.

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OFCO to File Objection on Forest Service Draft Decision to Permit War Games

Growler jet - Google free imageThe 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 info@olympicforest.org, and check the West Coast Action Alliance site for updates.