A decision on how much the Flathead National Forest will analyze a controversial proposal to expand Holland Lake Lodge could come out this coming week.
Critics of the proposed project, put forth by Utah-based ski corporation POWDR, argue that the magnitude of the possible expansion requires rigorous analysis by the U.S. Forest Service under federal law. They have petitioned the agency to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS), the most rigorous of three levels of analysis under NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act. Groups like Save Holland Lake, which quickly formed late this summer in response to the first public comment period on the project, have requested that the forest conduct an EIS and ultimately deny the proposal.
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Meanwhile, the Flathead National Forest has been working since April to steer the project through the approval and public comment processes under a categorical exclusion, the least rigorous and most expedient method of analysis, generally reserved for small projects with no significant impact on the environment.
A decision by the forest on whether to move forward with a categorical exclusion or to conduct further analysis through