Forest Service Announces Signing Of Long-Awaited Planning Rule

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March 23, 2012 1:42 PM

WASHINGTON, DC (March 23, 2012) -- Today, the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment signed the final planning rule for National Forest System land management planning. The final rule is the result of the most collaborative rulemaking effort in Agency history. This effort included hosting over 63 public meetings across the country and receiving over 325,000 public comments. The Forest Service can begin using the final planning rule to develop, revise, and amend plans 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

There are very few differences between the preferred alternative that was released to the public in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on February 3, 2012 and the final planning rule.  A few clarifications were made to better represent the intent of the preferred alternative. These clarifications do not substantively change the rule.

Interested parties are encouraged to visit the Planning Rule website to view the final planning rule and find out information on what's next and how to stay involved. There will still be several opportunities for you to contribute to the planning process. We are developing directives to provide more specific direction on how to consistently implement the new rule, and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the directives before they're finalized. There will also be a new federal advisory committee to advise the Chief of the Forest Service and Secretary of Agriculture on implementation of the new rule. The committee will begin meeting this summer and all committee meetings will be open to the public.  Most importantly, forests and grasslands will soon begin revising and amending their plans under the new rule and you'll have opportunities to be involved throughout those processes.

Note: The Preamble and text of the Planning Rule are available for review HERE.

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