View Full Version : ALERT! USFS proposal diminishes public input!

Sedona Jeep School
03-07-2005, 09:18 AM
Alert!! This just came to my attention this morning. Here is the proposal as published in the Federal Register: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-22.htm

The Forest Service is trying to put more decision making power in the hands of the local rangers, without the requirement for the whole study AND public input. ???

Email comments ASAP to: planningce@fs.fed.us*

Note that the deadline to submit comment is TODAY! Nothing like advance notice...

Here is a copy of the letter I emailed:

Dear Chief Bosworth:

I am writing to comment on the proposed revisions to the Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 30, which would categorically exclude forest plans from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Forest Plans make significant decisions affecting our local national forests. Permitting forest plan amendments and revisions to be categorically excluded from NEPA would postpone any public examination of the potential impacts of logging, road building, and other environmentally harmful activities on the wildlife, conservation and recreation values in our national forests until after decisions about whether and where to allow such activities had already been made.

My primary concern is that categorical exclusion in forest planning would undermine the quality of information the public receives. Specifically, NEPA's requirement that an adequate range of alternatives be developed and carefully considered not only provides the agency a chance to take a broader, outside-the-box view, but it also plays an important role in educating the public about what possible directions long-term planning on our national forests could take. To eliminate this requirement in forest planning would reduce agency planning decisions to an our-way-or-the-highway approach. It is this type of thinking which engenders mistrust and undermines the opportunity for partnering between public, private and commercial sectors.

In addition, the proposal undermines the spirit and the letter of the National Forest Management Act, which requires forest plans to comply with NEPA. NEPA maintains a long-term viewpoint for planning and managing purposes. Long-term thinking is vital. Although I recognize the necessity of quicker management response and area-specific planning, I fear that this proposal undermines long-term thinking and planning.

To conclude, It is vital that the public is informed of and involved in proposed changes in the management of our public lands. I do not support any proposed changes which reduce or eliminate the opportunity for public involvement.

Thank you for considering my comments.