Additional reasons that environmental review must be completed for the Flagg Mountain exploration proposal:
The exploratory drilling would have significant environmental impacts which would affect you and people who live and recreate in the area, as well as significant impacts on wildlife and natural resources.
The Forest Service should:
- Collect adequate baseline monitoring data and inventory of natural resources to assess potential impacts to ground and surface water, including aesthetic values, before it decides whether to allow the drilling to proceed.
- Collect adequate baseline monitoring data and inventory of threatened and endangered species before it decides whether to allow the drilling to proceed. The area proposed for drilling is in a Late Successional Reserve and is critical habitat for the northern spotted owl. It is also upstream of important habitat for bull trout and wild salmon.
- Assess the impacts of continuous noise, lights and heavy machinery, on wildlife, recreation and people's current uses of the area.
- Assess probable sedimentation from and damage to roads caused by the increased heavy truck traffic.
- Assess the impact of onsite disposal of liquids and “fines” resulting from the drilling process on ground and surface water.
- Consider the cumulative impacts of drilling in this area over the years, as well as the likelihood that additional drilling will be required in future years, and thereby deny the use of a “categorical exemption” for a proposal that will clearly extend beyond 2014.
- Look carefully at the impacts on Mazama, Edelweiss, and the people and communities close to the drilling, especially with regard to noise, light pollution and traffic. For example, the proponent has provided no information about the decibel levels of the equipment it proposes to use, and the Forest Service has asked for none. The noise and traffic especially could have a significant impact on the hospitality and retail businesses in Mazama during their most important seasons. The noise impacts on the Edelweiss community could be even more significant.
- Require a significant performance bond, sufficient not only to clean up and dispose of all contaminants at the drill sites, but also to repair all impacted roads and bridges.
Please consider including additional personal reasons for your position that a thorough environmental analysis should be required before allowing the drilling to proceed.
Send your letter to:
Michael C. Liu, Methow Valley District Ranger
US Forest Service
24 West Chewuch Rd
Winthrop, WA 98862
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