Forest Service sued for granting Growler flights over Olympics

The U.S. Forest Service is being sued for its decision to grant the U.S. Navy special-use permits that allow EA-18G Growler training on the Olympic Peninsula.

The Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics contends that the forest service failed to determine the permitted activity is “compatible, and in harmony with, the surrounding landscape,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also said the Forest Service did not give priority to the interests of the general public nor consider that the training could be reasonably accommodated on private land. All of these are in violation of the Olympic National Forest’s Land and Resource Management Plan, according to the lawsuit.

The permit allows the Navy to send emitter vehicles on National Forest roads where they can emit electromagnetic energy at the passing Growlers.

“This permit allows for more realistic electronic warfare training, which better prepares our service men and women to effectively operate before they go into harm’s way,” Navy Spokesperson Mike Welding said in August when the Navy received the permit.

When the permit was issued, Steve Baker, public affairs officer for the Forest Service, said it requires the Navy to follow protocols to safeguard the land and the people who use it.

He also said that the training would have “no significant impact” on the public’s enjoyment of the forest.”