Opponents of fracking on the Wayne National Forest filed a lawsuit last spring alleging the failure of the BLM and Forest Service to comply with NEPA and the Endangered Species Act in authorizing oil and gas leasing. They argued that when the forest plan was revised in 2006 it didn’t address the effects of fracking. Plaintiffs suggest that is the reason why the Forest has now decided to again revise it forest plan. (Which would make it one of a very few forests to re-revise, so it is noteworthy that the Wayne was put in the queue ahead of many forests that have not been revised at all.)
For years, the USDA Forest Service, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have been innovating ways to collaborate in the restoration of southeast Ohio’s oak and hickory forest ecosystems. The next step to realizing that objective is having compatible long-term management plans that allow the organizations to work together more efficiently. With ODNR’s intention of revising their State Action Plan by 2020, the Wayne National Forest decided the time is right to revise its Land Management Plan, to facilitate collaborative work efforts with the State.
That’s a worthy goal, but not one I would have expected to get it to the top of the Forest Service’s priority list for plan revisions. Let’s see if they argue in court that starting revision would moot the lawsuit. Regardless, “The public can now demand a plan that bans fracking in the Wayne.”