One thing that I’ve noticed since I retired is that when I got paid (even though I did most reading in the evenings and did not mark “Free Time” on my timesheet.. True Confessions!) to do certain things, I didn’t mind donating my time to write about them on a blog.
I have to admit that the idea of “reviewing the planning directives” was not something I would have done, were it not for another volunteer responsibility (other than this blog). I don’t know what I could possibly have done in a past life that the karmic payback was to have to have read three sets of NFMA planning directives in my life (and sets of regulations, but they are shorter).
So my next step was to figure out “is there anything specific that they want comments on?” Calling and emailing the Forest Service, I got the answer “look at all of it.” Which seemed odd because for the objections rule, there were specific questions that helped focus our comments, and that rule was much shorter. I even asked Ray Vaughan, the chair of the FACA Committee, and he said “look at all of it.”
So my next idea was “some people get paid to read them, let’s look through their comments for pages and ideas of particular interest.” The problem with this approach is that people tend to wait until the last minute to turn theirs in.
So it looks like I will have to read the whole thing.. I’m asking people on this blog to take a look and comment with any feedback.
Here are my principles.. I’d be interested to know what you think about those:
1) Do you really need directives? Right now forests are working using the new planning rule. I would like to hear from them, where and why they think directives will help them.
2) Shorter is better. If you have a list of 10 things to do versus 200, you are more likely to accomplish the 10, it seems to me. Plus the environmental impact of potentially printing the extra pages.
3) There shouldn’t be concepts that are “normative science” like ecosystem health or integrity or…
Now this might be a problem because those were put in the Rule. So it’s like tilting at windmills. However, some windmills really deserve to be tilted at.
4) People can get carried away with assessing to the point of silliness, given the few things that can actually be manipulated on a forest. What’s in the directives to prevent this from happening?
What do you think of these? What others would you add?
We have discussed making public discussion about projects amenable to people who have other jobs.. not so sure reviewing the planning directives fits in with this..
Also for those of us who don’t remember what the old ones said, it’s hard to figure out how to comment on important changes to the old ones. Some have estimated there are 600 pages.. I guess I’ll find out. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Here’s the link.