Powder River Draft Environmental Impact Statement Available for Public Comment

By on Monday, June 20th, 2022 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

BAKER CITY – (Release by Wallowa-Whitman National Forest) The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for 22 new plans of operation for mining in the Powder River watershed. The Draft EIS will be available for a 45-day public comment period, which will further inform the analysis and decision.  

The purpose of the Environmental Impact Statement comment period is to allow residents an opportunity to learn about the potential impacts on National Forest resources and communicate any concerns or questions that may arise. Please visit the project’s webpage to access the Draft EIS, and for instructions on how to submit comments.

“We look forward to receiving public comments and expect they will help us to enhance the Draft Environmental Impact Statement,” said Whitman District Ranger Kendall Cikanek. “After we finalize the Environmental Impact Statement and publish the Record of Decision, those who submitted substantive public comments will have another opportunity to engage during the objection and resolution process.”

Prior to approving mining plans of operation on a National Forest, the USDA Forest Service is required (36 CFR 228.4) to disclose potential environmental impacts, determine possible mitigations of those impacts, and analyze alternatives. The Whitman District Ranger, as the responsible official, determined that an EIS was necessary to evaluate potentially significant environmental impacts that could occur in the Powder River watershed based on the number and nature of mining operations. The Draft EIS analyzed potential impacts on water quality, fish habitat, and bull trout, which is a fish that is present in the watershed and listed on the Endangered Species Act.

For information about the project, gain access the DEIS and for instructions on how to submit comments, please visit the project’s webpage. You can also contact the Whitman District Environmental Coordinator Adrian Cuzick a  adrian.cuzick@usda.gov.