As it appears that the US Navy will be proceeding with the US Warfare Training Range (USWTR) off of Florida, I dug into our participation in the process to trace how these decisions are made.
The original 554 page Environmental Impacts Statement (EIS) was released for the 30 day public comment period right around Thanksgiving 2005 – a release date cleverly designed to coincide with the winter holidays. A number of us, including NRDC cried “foul” and managed to get the comment period extended.
We were able to take the extra time to submit a comprehensive evaluation of the shortcomings of the EIS. While our letter systematically cuts through a lot of the statistical balderdash of the Navy’s EIS, it also provides a fairly complete view of OCR’s position on our engagement with the ocean – and the critical value of framing assumptions.
“Precautionary” is not a word often found in US Navy EIS’s (it appears once in this one). Suffice it to say that four years later the record of decision and the Final EIS substantiating it somehow managed to overlook many of our concerns.
So it goes in the realm of protecting our national interests…