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FS rule governing predecisional objection #15 04/10/13 02:38 AM
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outdoorwire Offline OP
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Forest Service rule governing predecisional objection process published -- Provides for public input prior to decision-making for many projects and activities

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2013 - The U.S. Forest Service today announced the final rule governing the objection process for projects and activities implementing land-management plans. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on March 27.

"This rule gives the public more effective involvement, supports our collaborative processes and will result in better decision-making," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

The predecisional administrative review, or objection process, will be applied under federal regulation to all projects and activities that implement land-management plans and that are documented in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

The Forest Service has successfully used this objection process since 2004 for hazardous-fuel reduction projects authorized under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act.

Within the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, Congress directed the Forest Service to also establish a predecisional objection process for other projects in lieu of the post-decisional appeal procedures that had been in use with those projects since 1993.

The new regulations respond to the statute by creating an objection process that applies to all authorized project proposals.

This final rule follows after a review of public comments submitted in response to the publication of the proposed rule last year. The rule is effective immediately but transition provisions will apply to projects already in the planning stage.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Forest Service lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $27 billion per year.

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Last edited by outdoorwire; 09/27/15 07:38 PM.

John Stewart
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Board of Directors, BlueRibbon Coalition
Re: FS rule governing predecisional objection [Re: outdoorwire] #38 09/27/15 07:39 PM
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outdoorwire Offline OP
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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.

Read more from the Forest Service - http://www.fs.fed.us/objections/objections_related.php#app_work


John Stewart
Editor, OutdoorWire.com
Resources Consultant, California Four Wheel Drive Association
Board of Directors, BlueRibbon Coalition

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