Here’s the link.
Broad Support for Final Planning Rule
Final rule to restore the nation’s forests through science and collaboration
WASHINGTON, Mar. 26, 2012 – On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final Planning Rule for America’s 193 million-acre National Forest System that includes stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities.
USDA and the Forest Service carefully considered more than a quarter million comments received on the proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement issued in February to develop today’s final rule, which emphasizes collaboration, sound science and protections for land, water and wildlife.
The final rule strengthens the role of public involvement and dialogue throughout the planning process. It also requires the use of the best available scientific information to inform decisions.
Praise for the rule and its collaborative development has been broad-based:
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, (D-NM), Chairman, Energy & Natural Resources Committee
“The new forest planning rule is good news for our National Forest watersheds, local economies and outdoor recreational opportunities. I’m pleased that the rule provides for more public engagement and lower costs for developing strong, collaborative and science-based land management plans. After many years and many attempts to reform the National Forest planning process, I believe this is a balanced and realistic approach for moving forward.”
Dale Bosworth, former Chief of the U.S. Forest Service
“This is the most collaborative Forest Service rulemaking I’ve ever seen. The Forest Service worked for over two years with the American public to develop a planning rule that will protect our natural resources, promote sustainable recreation and safeguard our precious drinking water, all while allowing for timber harvest and encouraging restoration. This new planning rule promotes collaboration and will continue to engage the American people throughout all stages of planning. The Forest Service can now move forward to implement a new planning rule for the benefit of future generations.”
Laura McCarthy, Senior Policy Advisor, The Nature Conservancy
“The Forest Service should be complimented for producing a much needed Final Forest Planning Rule. Healthy forests support the well-being of our nation, yet more than half of the national forests are operating with out-of-date plans. We are glad the Forest Service has come out with a Final Rule that will allow new plans to be developed more efficiently. It is time to roll up our sleeves and work with the agency to update these plans.”
Michael Goergen, Executive Vice President and CEO, Society of American Foresters
“The Forest Service is revising national forest plans using regulations developed in 1982 — before the development of the McIntosh or Windows. Each attempt to modernize those regulations has been litigated, usually by both environmental and development groups. The quality of the environment cannot possibly be enhanced by using outdated rules. The new rules should be given a chance to work.”
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
“We are pleased that the Forest Service can now begin to implement this modernized final planning rule. Through working closely and cooperatively with the respective state fish and wildlife agency, implementation of the rule will ensure sustainability of fish and wildlife resources consistent with the plan area habitat. It will also ensure that the plan area will contribute to landscape level conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitats. We support the Forest Service moving quickly to effectively implement the rule to meet these conservation objectives.”
And others you saw in the previous post.