Public objections pour in


UPDATE, January 16, 2017: The Forest Service comment period for the electronic warfare permit is closed and cannot be extended; however, the Navy has extended the comment period on the Growler EIS to February 24, 2017. Thanks to Senators Murray and Cantwell, Rep. Larsen and Governor Inslee for making these requests. We will notify people on our mailing list when suggested text we are working on is ready to adapt for your own comments. Sign up for occasional emails from us (on the right side of this page) if you want to be notified.

January 13, 2017Today is the deadline The deadline has passed for filing objection letters to the US Forest Service over their decision to grant the Navy a permit to turn the Olympic National Forest  into an electronic warfare range. Some people are having trouble finding the Forest Service’s web site, which, other than snail mail, is the only way you can comment. With a web address like this, it’s no wonder:  The other problem is that the comment box is at the very bottom of this web page, and people are not seeing it unless they scroll past big blocks of text all the way down. UPDATE: A third problem surfaced, in which some objection letters filed on January 13, before the deadline, were labeled in the database as having been filed on January 14, after the deadline. This problem happened in 2014, and back then we were assured by the Forest Service that they knew when comments were actually filed. 

We thought that some of these objection letters, all of which can be seen in the Forest Service Reading Room, might be worth posting, so here are a few of them:

West Coast Action Alliance/Olympic Forest Coalition objection letter

National Parks Conservation Association objection letter with support document

Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics objection letter

Olympic Park Associates objection letter

Sierra Club North Olympic Group objection letter

Olympic Peninsula Audubon objection letter.

Many people have asked for an extension of the comment period, since our federal and state government has “coincidentally” delivered to the public FOUR major comment periods over the holidays: this one for the Forest Service Navy permit, the 1400-page Navy Growler EIS, and two state Draft EISs (over a thousand pages) for marbled murrelets, both of which dismiss jet noise as a threat. Nice, huh. This is not what the public meant when we asked government agencies to work together.

If the Forest Service refuses The Forest Service refused to extend the objection period, citing legal constraints, so the next phase will be: They can take 30 days (or more) to review the public’s objections, then they make the final decision. We expect the final decision will be: screw you, public. This is why the number and quality of public objections has been important.

12:30 PM Friday: WE JUST LEARNED THE FOREST SERVICE’S SERVER WAS DOWN last night, and was put back online at 3:30 am this morning. If you filed comments during that time, check their Reading Room to ensure they’re still there. We have emailed Olympic National Forest Superintendent Reta LaFord and point of contact Greg Wahl, to ask for a 30-day extension of the objection period.

2:30 PM Friday: After notifying Forest Service of the above and asking for an extension, we received this statement from Greg Wahl: “I’m unaware of any scheduled server maintenance last night. We encourage online submittals but also offer hand-delivery or fax too. Unfortunately, per the regulations, we are not allowed any extension of the objection period.”

If you still want to object (before close of business today) go here, scroll down to the big black arrows, download the big file or the Cliff’s Notes version, and copy and paste your objections (or attach them as a file) here. (Scroll down to see comment box.) Don’t wait – they might not extend the objection period. COMMENT PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED.

Next up: Comments on the Navy Growler EIS, which closes January 25. FEBRUARY 24.  We will keep you posted and will help you with comments. After reading the Navy Growler EIS, we can say without reservation that it portrays an ugly time ahead.

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