dEIS Stands for Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Based on it’s name, one would expect, at the very least, data and evidence supporting findings of environmental impact.

In this blog, we will look at the top three major points to ponder, but first, the entire dEIS is available on line at:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=333&projectID=33043&documentID=43390

Being that the document is 722 pages cover to cover, when you click on the above link and scroll down to the sub-heading “Document Content”, you will find the dEIS is broken into seven PDF documents which you can download to your computer and print all, portions, single pages, or selected text. The documents are:

  1. Front Matter (74 pages which includes)
    • Abstract
    • Executive Summary
    • (Table of) Contents
    • Acronyms
  2. Chapter 1 – Purpose and Need for Action (58 pages)
  3. Chapter 2 – Alternatives (100 pages)
    • all ultimately ending with termination and removal of the oyster operations
    • missing is a “No Action” Alternative
  4. Chapter 3 – Affected Environment (80 pages – those “topics” deemed potentially impacted)
  5. Chapter 4 – Environmental Consequences (186 pages – to what degree, if any, the different alternatives will affect each of the impact topics)
  6. Chapter 5 – Consultation and Coordination
  7. Appendixes

 

The Top Three Major Points to Ponder (722 pages is a bit daunting so here are the basics)

1.  Potential vs. Data and Evidence (since the dEIS is a PDF, a search for words or phrases can be performed)

    • Do a find for the word “POTENTIAL” (remember potential does not mean evidence of actual impacts ever having occurred in recorded history, but might, maybe, perhaps,  occur – merely hypothetical speculation and supposition)
      • potential” appears over 700 times.
      • Delete the combination phrase “potential wilderness” then the word “potential”, as it relates to HYPOTHETICAL POTENTIAL FUTURE IMPACT  and it appears 514 times
    • Do a find for “data” and “evidence” (as in supporting impact statements) and you will find 7 instances
      • 1 reference to seals (which turns out to be a positive impact)
      • 0 references to eelgrass
      • 0 references to red-legged frogs
    • Conclusion:
      • There is NO DATA / EVIDENCE to support any negative finding whatsoever, be it minor, moderate, or major, on any impact topic covered in the dEIS.

 

2.  Chapter 1, Purpose and Need for Action, References Used for Impact Analysis, page 23 states:

“Secondary references are those for which evidentiary support is not directly traceable to a source that complies with recognized standards for data documentation and scientific inquiry. Secondary references can include documents that have not been subjected to peer review or that do not reflect direct on-site observations or measurements in accordance with a standard protocol for data documentation.” …“In general, secondary references were not used for the analysis, unless there was a compelling reason to do so.”

    • Legislation enacted by Senator Dianne Feinstein instructed NPS to follow the NAS conclusion of “no major adverse impact”.
    • The National Academies of Science, after reviewing the NPS report concluded that resolving the controversy over the potential harbor seal disturbances “… would require a data collection system that could be independently verified, such as time and date stamped photographs. This verification is especially important in circumstances where there is an indication of a source of disturbance that could lead to a regulatory action, as was the case with disturbances attributed to DBOC.”
    • In 2007, the NPS had in fact installed and operated cameras to record minute-by-minute color photographs during Harbor Seal pupping seasons. Over the three plus years the cameras were in operation 281,000 photographs were taken
      • Each photograph was logged and analyzed
      • Each photograph is available to view at the NPS website
      • Not one photograph shows disturbance of Harbor Seals attributable to DBOC operations,
        • kayakers, hikers, cyclists, etc., yes they have caused disturbances
        • DBOC is INNOCENT as EVIDENCED by 281,000 PHOTOGRAPHS

Conclusions:

      • The 281,000 photos and accompanying logs are EVIDENCE of no harm to harbor seals by DBOC
      • The 281,000 photos and accompanying logs qualify as Secondary reference material as defined on page 23 of the dEIS and need to be included
      • The 281,000 photos and accompanying logs should be included in the dEIS
        • per the NAS direction
        • per dictate of current legislation

3.  Becker 2011 report

    • Is titled “Evidence for long term spatial displacement of breeding and pupping harbour seals by shellfish aquaculture over three decades”
    • Has a FOURTEEN-YEAR GAP where  NO DATA IS PROVIDED.
    • The information from ’82 and ’83 are notes from a field notebook from a field trip.
      •  This source might qualify as a secondary reference as defined on page 23, however on that same page is the statement “In general, secondary references were not used for the analysis, unless there was a compelling reason to do so.”
      •  If 281,000 photos and their accompanying logs are not to be included neither should field notes from two years immediately prior to a 14 year gap in data be.
    • The “evidence of displacement” provided is evidence seals sought refuge by moving INTO Drakes Estero over a two-year period. A marauding elephant seal killed 40 seals, the remaining seals attained safe harbor within the Estero until the threat moved on.
    • Conclusions:
      • NO EVIDENCE EXISTS OF DISPLACEMENT OF HARBOR SEALS OUT OF DRAKES ESTERO.
      • THERE IS NO NEGATIVE IMPACT TO HARBOR SEALS BY DBOC

These three are merely the three major points of the draft EIS. Looking at each section within the report you will find more of the same, claims without data, hypotheses without substance, declarations without evidence.

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