As instructed by the courts, the US Forest Service has prepared a draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding possible health and environmental effects of fire retardant used to fight wildfires. The draft EIS generally looks favorably on the status quo, with some modest suggested changes.
Some organizations and agencies, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries Service, and Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, have in the past raised numerous concerns about current practices, and may critique the EIS during the 45-day public comment period that ends June 27, 2011. The final EIS is scheduled for completion Dec. 31, 2011.
- Draft EIS, Nationwide Aerial Application of Fire Retardant on National Forest System Lands; additional information; May 13, 2011, press release.
Public sessions of one type or another will be held:
- Missoula, MT, May 26 (technical listening session on effects)
- Santa Barbara, CA, June 7 (listening session)
- Wenatchee, WA, June 9 (listening session)
- Tucson, AZ, June 15 (listening session)
A public webinar will be held:
- June 16, national community listening session
Webinars already held include:
- April 26, interagency stakeholder discussion group
- April 28, non-agency stakeholder discussion group
Public sessions already held include:
- Boise, ID, May 17 (morning science panel discussion)
- Boise, ID, May 17 (afternoon technical listening session on fire operations)
- Ocala, FL, May 24 (listening session)
For details on all events, contact the USFS press office at 202-205-1134.One example of media coverage of the release of the draft EIS is:
- "Effects of Fire Retardant on Environment Assessed," Helena Independent Record, May 15, 2011, by Eve Byron.