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Every so often my family and I visit the Civil War reenactment sometimes staged at McIver State Park. We were first exposed to it years ago by Bob Brooks, our insurance agent and longtime friend, who regularly took part in these panoramas.

Often we would stop by his encampment after the battle and talk about how carefully planned these presentations have to be, to make sure no one is actually hurt, and that the simulated battle conditions don’t leave permanent marks on the environment.

We got to wondering what would have happened if Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had been required to submit an Environmental Impact Statement before being allowed to conduct the war, and that got us to wondering about some other local environmental impacts.

TO: Capt. Meriwether Lewis, Office of the President
FROM: Josiah Bartlett, EPA
DATE: Feb. 14, 1801

SUBJECT: Pacific Expedition

Dear Capt. Lewis:

Your request for permission to travel up the Missouri River and explore the Northwest Territory known as Oregon has been denied.

The Agency applauds your intent to gather information about natural resources, establish communication with indigenous cultures, and chart a navigable route to the Pacific.

Environmental considerations, however, indicate that the potential threat to the delicate ecological balance of nature and certain possibly endangered species makes such a venture inadvisable at this time.

Moreover, your failure to submit the required Impact Statement in triplicate has rendered your application null and void. If you wish to appeal this decision, or to revise your application so it will meet agency requirements, please complete Form A-213-455061, noting particularly Section III, subparagraph 2c.

TO: Capt. Samuel Barlow, Mt. Hood Wagon Road Co.
FROM: Carter Braxton, EPA
DATE: Feb. 14, 1845
SUBJECT: Mt. Hood Toll Road

Dear Capt. Barlow:

Your request for permission to build a toll road from Tygh Valley to Eagle Creek has been denied.

In conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Agency has determined that the route down the Columbia River offers considerably more security to American workers and travelers than your proposed road.

In addition, it has come to our attention that a little-known species of owl inhabits the area in question, and must be protected at all costs. Adding to the superiority of the Columbia route is the absence of threatened species in the Columbia, unless one counts the salmon, which are so abundant they could never possibly be endangered.

Moreover, your Impact Statement was so incomplete, grease-stained, and full of gross illiteracies, it could hardly be identified. If you wish to appeal, etc., etc….

TO: Francis Revenue, Oregon Territory
FROM: William Whipple, EPA

DATE: Feb. 14, 1854
SUBJECT: Trading Post and Bridge across Sandy River

Dear Mr. Revenue:

Your request for permission to establish a trading post and to build a bridge across the Sandy River has been denied.

The Agency’s preliminary reports suggest that the delicate ecological balance of nature in the area west of Mt. Hood simply will not support the degradation of soil and vegetation attendant upon the traffic that must inevitably follow such a project.

Particularly vulnerable is the recently discovered “Spurious Spurrolet,” a rare species related to the yellow-bellied sapsucker, which would undoubtedly be unduly jeopardized by your trading post and bridge.

Moreover your Impact Statement was filled with so much French and Cajun terminology (no doubt owing to your having been born in New Orleans) that it was virtually unintelligible to any red-blooded American. If you wish to appeal this decision, etc., etc…..

TO: Luke Skywalker
FROM: John Witherspoon, EPA
DATE: Feb. 14, 2067
SUBJECT: Shopping Mall and Spaceport

Dear Jedi Skywalker:

Your request to remove the City of Sandy, Oregon, and rebuild in its place an interplanetary shopping mall and spaceport has been denied.

The Agency adamantly insists that the 17 remaining Douglas fir trees in the Mt. Hood National Forest must be preserved at all costs, and that the Sandy River must be allowed to continue its nearly uninterrupted flow to the Columbia.

Of particular concern to the Agency is a critically endangered species of human known as the “Bull Run Redneck,” which flourishes only within a ten-mile radius of Sandy, Oregon, and has been found to dwindle and perish with every attempt at transplantation.

Moreover, your Impact Statement was filled with so many grammatical inconsistencies (no doubt from your long association with the Jedi Yoda) that the Agency could not decipher most of it. If you wish to appeal this decision, etc.,etc…..

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