Draft decision would allow Navy training over Olympic forest

The United States Forest Service has released a draft Decision Notice that would authorize a Special Use Permit to facilitate Navy jet training on the Olympic Peninsula.

The permit would allow the Navy to conduct ground-to-air training using mobile electronic transmitters from eleven designated roadside locations on the Olympic National Forest for a period of up to five years.

Over 3,500 public comments were received during the designated scoping and comment periods, with the main concerns being potential impacts to wildlife and public health. The Forest Service considered comments and incorporated project design features and standard operating procedures to protect public health and safety, according to news release Tuesday.

A 1988 Master Agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of Agriculture establishes procedures for planning, scheduling, and conducting authorized military activities on National Forest System lands.

The Navy was required to follow all National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act requirements, according to the news release. The Navy worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to understand and address biological effects of the permit request.

Subsequent to publishing legal notice of the proposed decision in the Pacific Ranger District’s newspapers of record, as required by the Code of Federal Regulations, a 45-day objection period will start.

Those who provided comments on the project during scoping or other designated comment periods have the standing to object. Objections must be based on previously submitted comments unless based on new information arising after these opportunities to comment.

The Environmental Assessment, Draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact, and associated project documents are available for review at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=42759 along with additional information on the objection process.

Objections can be submitted at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=42759 .