AP story here.
My favorite part of this story was…
But critics worry the changes will force them to predict the future. Instead of filing an appeal based on a specific decision, they will have to anticipate a wide range of possible final decisions the agency might make.
“Whether you are a timber industry advocate or a strict preservationist, you are going to need to break out your crystal ball to determine what the Forest Service is going to do before they do it,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League.
That has the possibility of spawning more objections and taking more time than the current system, said Gary Macfarlane of the Moscow-based Friends of the Clearwater.
“Right now appeals are done after a decision is made so both parties know what the decision is; objections and concerns can be more pointed, more boiled down,” he said. “It’s going to force people who object to do the kitchen-sink model, to throw as many concerns out there as possible.”
Those who do not participate in the public involvement and objection process won’t have standing to file lawsuits, raising the stakes and incentive for filing a broad range of objections, environmentalists say.
where Mr. Oppenheimer predicts what timber industry advocates think.
However, further down in the article, we actually hear from a real live industry advocate.
For Tom Partin, executive director of the American Forest Resource Council in Portland, Ore., the new process is welcome and long overdue. He believes the new process will compel people who oppose things like timber sales to come forward with their objections rather than holding back and saving rhetorical ammo for court.
“They have to put their dislikes in up front and try to work it out in the resolution process,” he said.
But it’s interesting that “the critics” predict future bad things, but we have actually been using objections since HFRA, so the territory is, in reality, well known or, perhaps, trammeled ;).
It’s interesting that Earthjustice attorney said about the track record (real, past, as opposed to hypothesized future) objections..
“That concept of pre-final decision comes from the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (of 2003), and it works fairly well,” said Earthjustice attorney Kirsten Boyles, whose law firm frequently challenges Forest Service policy. “It requires people be involved earlier in the process, and it seems to have worked fine.”
If the press release is tomorrow and it’s coming out in the Federal Register Wednesday, we might want to review our previous posts and comments on it..
But check out Rob Chaney’s Missoulian piece from January and our discussion and links here. And here (45 comments!) is another extensive discussion we had..plus the tacky diagram above (public opp. is opportunity to give comments) that we can use to parse out some of the discussion, or at least until the news release and background material tomorrow.