Forest Service publishes final rule governing predecisional objection process
The U.S. Forest Service announced the final rule governing the objection process for projects and activities that implement land-management plans. The final rule was published in the Federal Register Thursday.
"This rule gives the public more effective involvement, supports our collaborative processes and will result in better decision-making," said Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell.
The objection process, also known as the predecisional administrative review, will be applied, under federal regulation, to all projects and activities that implement land-management plans and that are documented in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.
This process has been successfully used by the Forest Service since 2004 for hazardous-fuel reduction projects, authorized under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act.
With the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, Congress directed the Forest Service to establish a predecisional objection process for other projects, rather than the post-decisional appeal procedures. The post-decisional appeal procedures had been in use with those projects since 1993.
The new regulations create an objection process that applies to all authorized project proposals.
The final rule follows after a review of public comments submitted in response to the publication of the proposed rule last year. The rule is effective immediately. However, transition provisions will apply to projects already in the planning stage.