Only 3 Days Left To Comment On The US Forest Service New Planning Regulations

Date: 05/13/2011

Only 3 Days Left To Comment On The US Forest Service New Planning Regulations

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

Just a quick reminder, there are only three days left to comment on the Forest Services Draft Planning Rule. (See previous alert below) If you haven't already sent in comments, please take just a minute and do it now.

We have set up our letter generator to help make it easy for you to submit comments.

Please help us by sending your comment letter today. Click HERE

Thanks in advance for your involvement,

Greg Mumm

Executive Director

BlueRibbon Coalition

208-237-1008 ext 101

Comment Deadline for New US Forest Service Planning Regulations Looms

BRC's Key Comments and Concerns and Letter Generator Available

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

Last year the U.S. Forest Service began revising their regulations that govern how the agency prepares Forest Plans. Known as the "Planning Rule," these regulations will determine how the agency develops, amends and revises their Land Use Plans for the next 30 years.

In February this year, the agency released a Draft Planning Rule for public review and comment. The Draft Planning Rule is overly complex, likely because it follows decades of controversy and litigation. BRC staff has been carefully reviewing the Draft, but questions and concerns remain. We need more time. We continue to push for an extension in the comment deadline (read our previous alert here) .

While we await a decision on that request, the current May 16 comment deadline to comment is still in place. The Forest Service needs to hear from many of you, and they need to hear from you now! We've posted "comment suggestions" for you in our Rapid Response Center so they can understand your key concerns about the Draft Rule. Your comments will go directly to the agency.

In BRC's previous comments, we cautioned the agency to focus on the process of revising Forest Plans, not to make this about the Forest Plan itself. Planning regulations need to be about how to formulate plans and NOT what the plans will contain.

Sadly, it looks as if these new planning regulations will not follow this advice. They apparently move the agency away from its multiple use/sustained yield mandate and toward preservation oriented management. This will continue to make the agency vulnerable in almost any decision and impede efficient, meaningful management. It will not do anything to solve the problem this Rule is supposed to address. Indeed, it may make administrative gridlock worse, to the detriment of recreation and other uses of the Forest System

Please help us by sending your comment letter today. Click HERE

Thanks in advance for your involvement,

Greg Mumm

Executive Director

BlueRibbon Coalition

208-237-1008 ext 101

For more background information on the proposed new Planning Rule, please visit our dedicated webpage at: www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/?section=FS_Planning_Rule

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib -

www.sharetrails.org

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As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://www.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!

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More...

Talking points on proposed rule: FS planning rule

As a recreationist I am concerned that the proposed Land Management Planning Rule will be burdensome, costly and leave too many key terms and phrases undefined. The rule, if finalized as drafted, would invite litigation and do little to end the decades-long effort to craft a planning rule that will stand the test of time – and courts. Further, while the Forest Service responded to requests from the recreation community to include recreation in the draft rule, the proposed rule clearly provides that preservation trumps social and economic factors, including recreation, contradicting the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act, the statute that authorizes many Forest activities.

I am also concerned that expanding the “viable populations” provisions to include invertebrates will prove impossible to implement and ultimately lead to further restrictions to access. The “viable populations” provisions of the 1982 rule have proven difficult to implement and a magnet for litigation. Please remove these provisions before finalizing the rule.

The issues listed above, among others, leave me concerned that recreation will be limited as a result of the rule, both because of specific rule provisions, and because resultant litigation will be brought by anti-access organizations who will use the courts to interpret the many ambiguities in the draft.

Anyone who recreates on our National Forests has a vested interest in the implementation of a successful planning rule. I am concerned that proposed rule would limit recreation and become mired in legal challenges and as a result I encourage you to vastly rework the draft before finalizing the rule. I also join with Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry Chairman Glenn Thompson in encouraging you to reconsider your decision not to extend the comment period for an additional 90 days. This is too important and the issues too complex for the public not to have ample time to thoughtfully consider, and comment on, the proposed sweeping changes.

Thank you.