19 hrs August 13, 2015 Dena Jensen
The Tongue River Railroad Draft EIS comment period has been extended until September 24, but you may be motivated to write yours immediately when you read the comment below by Steve Gilbert, from the June 8, 6.p.m. public meeting in Ashland, MT. Steve was speaker number 3, that night.
Below Steve’s comment are details on where to send your comments:
“STEVE GILBERT: I’m Steve Gilbert from Helena, here, representing myself. For 25 years, I worked as a biologist — I worked as a biologist in Southwest Montana — Southeast Montana. I have written parts of EISs. I have done
baseline studies supporting those EISs.
This is a monumentally bad EIS. It’s4,000 pages of fluff.
“For this go-around, I reviewed the fish and the wildlife. Fish is easy to deal with quickly, because there was no fisheries survey done. There was habitat work done. Then, with a little black magic and prestidigitation, we came out with a fish report. I have never in my life heard about a fisheries study done without fish being handled. There was no aquatic biology, no macroinvertebrate studies. It’s a fish report about something, but it isn’t fish.
Basically, what we have here is 4,000 pages that we could say represent 100 sow’s ears in an attempt
to make a silk purse. What we have is a 100-ear sow’s ear purse, no silk.
“The wildlife, similar. We have statements in there saying, well, there were five wolves sighted near Miles City in 1899. 1899? What does that mean? Why is that in there? There were two groups of sage grouse. One group had two birds; another group had four. We hear that the helicopter landed and the biologists got out, and they couldn’t tell the difference between a sage grouse track and a sharp bell grouse track. That tells me they’ve never had either in their hand. I don’t get it.
“All the way through there, we have statements talking about the potential impacts which, if you read them, look pretty darn severe. They are all dismissed with a hand wave and saying something along the lines of, This is not a problem.
“There were no special areas done or special habitats discovered or important species that will be affected over the period of time that this — which is forever. That’s how long these railroads run.
“Once again, I’m just stunned that this can pass as a Draft EIS. It is the most incredible waste of paper and time for important people who are trying to raise cows to have to review. I just am — basically just kind of makes me shake.
“What we have here basically is a piece of junk. We could have trained 15 chimpanzees for 25 minutes, and it would produce a better document.”
Written comments for the Tongue River Railroad Draft EIS may be mailed to the following address:
Surface Transportation Board
395 E Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20423
ATTN: Office of Environmental Analysis
Docket No. 30186
Comments may also be submitted electronically by clicking here: https://public.commentworks.com/STB/TongueRiverRailroad/