Please call U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester Kathleen Atkinson (414-297-3765) NOW, before the planned Dec. 13 online lease auction that will open the Wayne to fracking! Ask her to withdraw consent and to withdraw the parcels slated for sale. She CAN do this (contrary to what her office staff may tell you), just as Wayne Supervisor Anne Carey did in 2011.
If you leave a message with her staff, please tell them you’d like to send Ms. Atkinson evidence of NEW INFORMATION since 2006 on the dangers of fracking. Please request acknowledgment of your e-mail. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org; cc Judi Henry: email@example.com. Atkinson has not evaluated fracking as required by law but is claiming that only “new information” will make her change her mind and withdraw consent. Feel free to send her any of the research linked on ACFAN’s research page or anything else you find important. Since the BLM EA cited USEPA fracking study’s initial 2015 report, you might cite the controversy around the stated conclusions. See EPA’s Late Changes To Fracking Study Downplay Risk Of Drinking Water Pollution, Marketplace 11-30-16
And please call Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office (202-224-2315) to insist that he live up to his claim that he’s concerned about climate change. He should be asking Ms. Atkinson to pull the parcels too!
Background: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published a final Environmental Assessment (EA) and a FONSI (“Finding of No Significant Impact”[!!]) and announced an online lease auction of 1600 acres of Wayne land for fracking, the first set of many acres planned to be auctioned. Leases can be sold for as little as $2/acre! Fracking under or near the Wayne to get at oil and gas owned by the government will threaten drinking water supplies and climate, pollute water and air, turn our Forest into an industrial zone, and cause other significant environmental, public health, and economic impacts to our Forest and communities. By federal law, potentially significant impacts must be considered by the US Forest Service with full public input. This was not done.
If a Forest wants to undertake a significant action not considered by its Plan, it must evaluate potential impacts, including cumulative impacts, that may result on the Forest and surrounding human community, before irrevocably committing resources. Depending on the potential significance of the impacts, these evaluations may be through either an EA or the more rigorous Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Only the latter requires public input. The Wayne has refused to do an Environmental Assessment, let alone an EIS, although activists have been pushing since 2011 for a supplemental EIS or a revision of the Forest Plan (and thus a full EIS), which is already overdue, since preparation can take 4-5 years. The FS and BLM claim that the Supplemental Information Report (SIR) produced by the Wayne in 2012 was in compliance with NEPA, which it explicitly is not.
Every document produced to date by the FS and BLM on the matter has been extremely shoddy, laughably so if not for the dire consequences. None is in compliance with NEPA requirements to consider up-to-date science and to take a “hard look” at potential impacts. It is clear that those in charge of analysis and decision-making have had a complete disregard for science and the extensive evidence and information provided by the public over the past five years. Contrary to Wayne National Forest Supervisor Tony Scardina’s claims, there is no law or directive that requires USFS to make public minerals available to suit the wishes of private industry or landowners who think their supposed profits take precedence over the climate and the region’s air, water, economy, and environmental and social health.
Anne Carey, Wayne NF Supervisor in 2011, pulled the parcels after community outcry. There is all the more reason to pull them in 2016! The consent is illegitimate and illegal (see pp. 30-31 of the CBD legal protest). Atkinson can and must withdraw the parcels.
And please call Sen. Brown’s office (202-224-2315) and insist that Sen. Brown support our cause. He says he’s concerned about climate change but doesn’t seem to understand the impacts of fracking on climate or on the economic health of our region.
Visit ACFAN’s Wayne page for background materials and news.