Greensweep Settlement Update
...by Bonnie Blackberry
We need help with an important environmental assessment for public lands in Northern California.
After a long legal battle with the government over the environmental impacts of its controversial 1990 Humboldt County marijuana raids (Operation Greensweep) by Army troops using Black Hawk helicopters, the U.S. government has agreed to be more environmentally sensitive in future marijuana eradication operations on public land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has signed a unique and historic settlement agreement and for the first time the government must produce a handbook with guidelines for law enforcement detailing how they will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) during their marijuana eradication operations on public lands in Northern California. A draft handbook will be issued in the next few months by the BLM. Once that draft is completed, there will be a 60-day period for the public to comment.
It is important that this assessment be done right, with all aspects of the environmental impacts from law enforcement operations considered. As one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project wants to make sure there is adequate input into the administrative record during the public comment period, so that the review deals with environmental realities and makes a realistic assessment possible. The guidelines will apply only to BLM operations in Northern California, though as this will be the first such assessment in the U.S., it may set the pattern for future assessments nationwide.
NEPA requires that environmental impacts be considered, and if necessary, plans changed to provide mitigations and avoidance measures. Adverse impacts to the environment, including wildlife, flora and fauna, domestic animals and humans, by helicopters, other aircraft and ground activities are substantive areas that need to be thoroughly addressed in this environmental assessment.
We need help identifying and articulating these impacts in order to be ready to comment during the comment period with as much expertise as possible. Right now our primary focus is looking for people with knowledge or expertise regarding specific adverse environmental impacts from law enforcement ground or air operations, especially the effects of noice and downdrafts on wildlife, horses and other domestic animals, and humans, when helicopters are used. If you know of any people with expertise, or know of any reports, studies, research or information regarding these issues, or know of any people who do, we would appreciate hearing from you ASAP.
Please contact us if you have any questions, or you want to help in any way, including any donations to help pay for expert input. Call the CLMP office and ask for Bernadette or Bonnie. If we aren't in, please leave your phone number and a convenient time to get back to you. THANKS!