The Trump Administration is Attempting to Limit Your Voice in Public Lands Management
Tell the U.S. Forest Service to Maintain Public Input in its Decision-making Processes under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Our national forest system is home to some of the most treasured and important rivers and streams in the U.S. In addition to being the places that we float, fish, swim, hike, bike, hunt and fish, our national forests provide clean drinking water for 180 million Americans – nearly half of the people in our country. In fact, the U.S. Forest Service owes its founding to Forest Reserves that were created in 1891 for the express reason of protecting our sources of clean water. In addition to providing clean water for drinking, agriculture and industry, our national forests support a $13 billion outdoor recreation economy and 193 million acres of increasingly scarce fish and wildlife habitat.
The Forest Service’s most difficult and important job is balancing the many needs and uses of the lands and waters that it manages. This balance is largely accomplished through public participation guaranteed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), one of our nation’s most important environmental laws.
The Forest Service is proposing sweeping rule changes to NEPA that would virtually eliminate the public’s voice in a majority of the decisions affecting national forests - up to 93% of the agency’s decisions would be exempt from public input. The agency claims that this is needed to bypass environmental analysis when there would be no harmful impacts to the land, but the proposal is far too broad. The result would be to fast-track certain projects such as logging, mining, road building, prescribed burns, and oil and gas development, which when done in the wrong way or in the wrong place, can negatively impact clean water and functioning rivers. The health of our rivers and streams depends upon the ability of all Americans to weigh in on these important decisions.
The future of our rivers and streams depend upon the ability of the public to participate in the management of our National Forests. Raise your voice below to tell the Administration that the public participation enshrined in NEPA is critical to ensuring that only well-crafted, safe and balanced projects in the national interest can move forward on public lands!
More information is available at https://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nepa/revisions/index.shtml.
The proposed rule change is open for comment until August 26. Comments may also be submitted through www.regulations.gov by searching docket number FS-2019-0010. Comments can also be submitted by mail to NEPA Services Group, care of Amy Barker, USDA Forest Service, 125 South State Street, Suite 1705, Salt Lake City, UT 84138; or by email at [email protected]