How do Objections Work?

Many projects and activities, and most land management plan amendments and revisions, are subject to a pre-decisional administrative review process, commonly referred to as an objection process. Direction for the project-level objection process is at 36 CFR 218, and for the planning objection process is at 36 CFR 219, subpart B. Under both processes individuals and entities may file objections after an environmental analysis document is completed and before a decision document is signed. These processes build on early participation and collaboration efforts, with the intention of resolving concerns before a decision is made.

The objection process is different from the optional plan appeal procedures that are made available in certain instances after a land management plan decision has been made, and the project-level appeal process that is used for projects that are categorically excluded under NEPA from documentation in an environmental assessment and an environmental impact statement, and documented with a decision memo.

Similar to Forest Service appeal processes, responses to objections are provided by the next higher level line officer above the Forest Service official proposing to sign the project or land management plan decision.

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John Stewart
Vice President, BlueRibbon Coalition