The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to eliminate virtually all public comment on how they manage OUR national forests. This could serve as precedent for other federal agencies and effectively gut the National Environmental Policy Act. We have until August 12 to tell them this is not acceptable. Please go to the Outdoor Alliance’s urgent call to action at ourforestsourvoice.org and let your voice be heard.
Writing in a New York Times opinion piece on August 7, 2019, Sam Evans of the Southern Environmental Law Center says, “The United States Forest Service’s most important job is balancing the many needs and uses of the 193 million acres of public land it manages. But the Trump administration is preparing to abandon the process that makes it possible, eliminating public participation from the overwhelming majority of decisions affecting our national forests. If the Forest Service has its way, visitors won’t know what’s coming until logging trucks show up at their favorite trailheads or a path for a gas pipeline is cleared below a scenic vista. …. Far too often, the Forest Service proposes logging in rare old-growth forests, near sensitive streams, or on steep, fragile slopes. Or it proposes building new roads or permitting pipelines in undeveloped backcountry areas. Under current law, new roads and all but the smallest and least consequential timber sales require, at a minimum, advance public notice and the opportunity for the public to comment and suggest improvements. Most of the time, bad projects are relocated or improved because of public input.”
If this proposal goes through, new clear-cutting and logging projects up to 6.6 square miles in size, pipelines, and massive road-building projects could proceed in the dark – without the input of neighboring landowners, without expert scientific input, and without the input of people who love to hike, fish, hunt, ride horses, paddle and bike throughout the entire 193 million acres of national forests.