Utah seeks more influence over national forest management

AP article today:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is planning to ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture for permission to thin forests, clear out dead trees and do controlled burnings on protected areas that account for nearly half of national forest lands in the state.

The Republican governor is seeking to adjust how the U.S. Forest Service’s Roadless Area Conservation Rule is applied in the state to allow for better state influence over national forests following a particularly brutal wildfire season, The Salt Lake Tribune reported this week.

The rule protects listed national forest lands that do not have roads from some activities that would require new roads. The rule covers more than 6,500 square miles (16,800 square kilometers) of forest lands in Utah.

The state’s effort is intended to give forest managers the flexibility they need for projects to make forests more resilient and protect watersheds, air quality and wildlife habitat, Herbert spokesman Paul Edwards said.


5 thoughts on “Utah seeks more influence over national forest management”

  1. I wonder how the Governor would respond if the Regional Forester sent him a request to exert in-kind FS management over state land holdings??

    • Especially in states like Washington (and others) where prescribed burning has been taboo due to the emphasis on timber production. Washington has started to change their tune on that now after several bad fire seasons, but the legislature had to approve it. And I think it only applies to the drier eastern side of the state.

      • Rx fire in Washington “taboo due to the emphasis on timber production” I thought smoke was the key issue, as it in in Oregon.

  2. Some people are getting tired of the FS spending their budgets burning up our national forests, polluting our air, and keeping us out of our forests. The FS policies of ” let it burn, fire is good for the forest”, are rapidly destroying our grandkids resources.

  3. “State officials plan to submit their petition to revise the roadless rule in the spring. The Department of Agriculture would conduct an environmental analysis if Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue accepts it.”

    Using the petition process to modify the national Roadless Area Conservation Rule for one state requires formal rulemaking, with national public involvement and probably an EIS (and therefore shouldn’t happen quickly). In Colorado and Idaho that process seems to have led to reasonable outcomes for those states.

    It’s not clear where the question of “who wields the chainsaws” would be addressed, but as long as the decision complies with federal environmental laws it shouldn’t matter. Of course if what they really want is to suspend federal environmental laws, all bets are off.


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