The US Forest Service is considering exempting a mineral exploration proposal just north of Flagg Mountain (within two miles of the Mazama junction) from a full review of the environmental impacts. Acting for Blue River Resources Ltd, Discovery Consultants of Vernon B.C. submitted a Plan of Operations that has undergone numerous revisions. The latest proposal would drill 15 exploratory boreholes 24/7, dragging the drill rig from site to site on Forest Service roads, some currently in use and others abandoned. Drilling would have to happen within a brief timeframe of August 1- December 1 because the project would be located in spotted owl habitat.
The Forest Service has not fully evaluated the impacts of the drilling proposal.
Despite the fact that the Forest Service has not yet completed its analysis of the impacts on species, water, native American archeological sites, roads, and people (primarily noise and night time lights), District Ranger Michael Liu proposes to approved this project administratively under a “categorical exclusion,” which has no appeal process. This proposal is not appropriate for a categorical exclusion, and the Forest Service should prepare a thorough study of its impacts through either an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
While the official comment period has ended, you can still send a letter to make your voice heard. Tell the Forest service that the proposal for mineral development near Flagg Mountain would have significant impacts and cannot be categorically excluded. It would affect people, wildlife and water resources, and an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement must be completed.
Click here to read about more reasons that environmental review must be completed. These are issues that you may want to include in your letter. However, a simple statement such as the one written above in bold would also suffice in communicating the message that Ranger Liu must hear.
Send your letter to:
Michael C. Liu, Methow Valley District Ranger
US Forest Service
24 West Chewuch Rd
Winthrop, WA 98862
Also, you can request that the agency keep you informed regarding this proposal.
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For further info, visit www.protectflaggmountain.org