Star Wars Comes to the Olympics

Wedgetail Flares Test

Olympic Mountains, that is.

The Navy wants a Forest Service special-use permit to deploy mobile electromagnetic radiation emitting vehicles on Washington’s Olympic National Forest. To the Forest Service’s credit, it has extended the public comment period (until tomorrow) to accommodate concerns of local folks who don’t read the Seattle-area newspapers where the scoping notices were published originally.

As is the case with most special-use permit applications, the applicant (Navy) hired a consultant to write the environmental assessment. The Forest Service now must decide whether to adopt the EA as its own and issue the permit. In this case, that would be a dumb idea for the reasons explained in FSEEE’s comments.

In a nutshell, the consultant ignored the Olympic’s Forest Plan (written in 1990) because the Plan bars issuing special-use permits for any use that can be accommodated on private land. Thankfully, NEPA requires a public comment process, as based on conversations I had with Olympic staff, they were quite unaware of this Plan standard.

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