Aspen Times 5/15/2013
Excerpt: “The oil-and-gas industry is claiming that closures of land and increased regulations contemplated in the White River National Forest will make drilling “uncompetitive.”
Five organizations affiliated with the gas industry submitted comments last winter to the Forest Service as part of the agency’s effort to rewrite rules of where drilling will be allowed and under what circumstances. The federal agency is overhauling an outdated plan from 1993. …”
Read entire story at http://www.aspentimes.com/news/6522733-113/gas-forest-oil-service
JD Supra Law News 5/2/2013
Excerpt: “On April 25, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit invalidated a consent decree that plaintiffs and three federal agency defendants asserted resolved a dispute spanning more than a decade. See Conservation Nw. v. Sherman, No. 11-35729 (9th Cir. 2013) (pdf). In doing so, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion when it entered the consent decree because it bypassed statutorily mandated public-participation procedures.
The Northwest Forest Plan applies to approximately 24.5 million acres of federal land spanning from San Francisco to the Canadian border. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ninth-circuit-invalidates-consent-decree-85062/
Lynchburg News and Advance 4/28/2013
Excerpt: “Apparently for the first time in America, the U.S. Forest Service is considering whether to allow horizontal drilling for natural gas, in the George Washington National Forest. Energy companies are saying “yes,” environmental activists are saying “no,” and governments are divided on whether roads, trucks and drilling equipment should be permitted in the national forest, a source of drinking water for 260,000 people.
More than 54,000 public comments have been made, and Virginians oppose the gas prospecting by at least a 2-1 margin, according to Kate Wofford of the Shenandoah Valley Network, an environmental advocacy group that analyzed the comments. …”
Read entire article at http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/article_762f9d5c-af77-11e2-86f9-001a4bcf6878.html
Williams News 4/9/2013
Excerpt: “The U.S. Forest Service has published an environmental analysis for the first phase of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) project, and is now seeking public comment about the document.
The draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) published March 29 proposes habitat enhancement, thinning and prescribed burning on one million acres of the Kaibab and Coconino national forests in the next 20 years. The DEIS will now undergo a 60-day public comment period.
The 4FRI project is the largest forest restoration project in the country, spanning 2.4 million acres within the Kaibab, Coconino, Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves national forests. The project proposes restoration for 189,255 acres surrounding Williams. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.williamsnews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubsectionID=1&ArticleID=13305
Excerpt: “In U.S. Forest Service-speak, we’re switching from a 215 to a 218. The difference in digits determines how and when someone can protest a timber sale or a road decommissioning, or any other Forest Service project that needs an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment.
Under rule 215, you appeal the decision after it’s announced. Under rule 218, you object before the decision is made. “The idea is we can sit down together and work out the issues,” said Ray Smith, Forest Service Region 1 objections and appeals coordinator. “It’s really important – the work together part. …”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/local/forest-service-change-aims-to-resolve-project-objections-earlier/article_8b033b74-a18c-11e2-bd84-0019bb2963f4.html
Modesto Bee 4/2/2013
Excerpt: “McCLELLAN — State and federal scientists met here last week to consider something most Californians take for granted: the health of the rivers flowing from the Sierra Nevada.
It may seem obvious that the humans who drink that water and the fish who swim in it benefit if it is clean and plentiful. Yet it is only recently that the officials in charge of the place where those waters are born have had marching orders to make sustained flow of those rivers a priority. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.modbee.com/2013/04/02/2651190/forest-managers-told-to-protect.html
Seattle Post 3/25/2013
Excerpt: “LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is proposing changes to the process people use to challenge timber sales and other agency decisions.
New guidelines expected to be unveiled later this week would require anyone interested in challenging agency actions to fully take part in the public review process and file formal objections before agency administrators make final policy decisions, according to a story published Monday in the Lewiston Tribune. …”
Read entire story at http://www.seattlepi.com/news/science/article/Forest-Service-to-modify-appeals-process-4382282.php
San Gabriel Valley Tribune 3/27/2013
Excerpt: “For the past seven years, the The U.S. Forest Service has been attempting to find a way to protect 37 roadless areas while keeping the public happy. More protection in the form of wilderness zoning would help the California condor, the California gnatcatcher, least bell’s vireo, the mountain yellow-legged frog and the Santa Ana sucker fish by limiting uses within these sensitive species’ habitat.
But in 2006, the state resources agency and environmental groups, including The Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club, sued saying the Forest Service was doing a poor job protecting these precious lands. Later, the two sides settled, agreeing to zone more roadless areas into “back county non-motorized” zones and as “recommended wilderness” areas. ….”http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_22886614/mountain-bikers-environmentalists-clash-over-angeles-national-forest
Read entire article at
Smoky Mountain News 3/27/2013
Excerpt: “The painstaking process of outlining a clear mission for the U.S. Forest Service and how it will manage its expansive public lands in Western North Carolina and the varied — and sometimes competing — interests of the people that use them has begun. Once completed, the new plan will serve as a reference for the coming 15 years on any major decision made about the Pisgah and Nantahala forests in regards to protected wilderness areas, logging, mountain biking, fires, hiking, hunting and more. …”
Read entire article at http://www.smokymountainnews.com/outdoors/item/10038-changing-recreational-habits-challenge-forest-service
High Country News 3/21/2013
Excerpt: “In 2001, a week before George W. Bush took the oath of office, the Forest Service dropped a bombshell. It released the 1,800 page Sierra Nevada Framework, a plan for how to manage 11.5 million acres of Sierra Nevada forests to protect the California spotted owl, reduce wildfires and protect habitat. Unlike previous plans, which prioritized timber harvests, restoring the health of the Sierra Nevada was the primary goal of the plan………”
“…….. it’s ironic that the U.S. government is now arguing that the Framework is simply a planning document with no real impacts on the ground, meaning environmental groups do not have legal grounds to challenge it……”
Read entire article at http://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/usfs-vs-your-ability-to-sue-them