5. Send in Your Comment on National Forest Management Act
The deadline for comments was extended to April 4! (Originally March 6.)
This Bush Administration proposal to gut the National Forest Management Act , if implemented, will lead to the widespread removal of environmental protections. Submit Your Comments to: the Forest Service: USDA FS Planning Rule, Content Analysis Team, PO Box 8359, Missoula, MT 59807; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Fax: (406) 329-3556.
The Proposed Changes Would (partial list):
*Restrict public comment in several ways, including the elimination of postcards and form letters as a means of voicing objections to management plans.
*Weaken requirements for conservation of non vascular plants and invertebrate animals
*Allow individual projects- including timber harvests- to be easily exempted from forest plans.
*Enable regional foresters to issue interim amendments, lasting up to four years, without public review.
*Eliminate the existing requirement to maintain native wildlife species on national forests.
*Weaken requirements for conservation of riparian ecosystems
*Remove requirements that monitoring protocols be publicly reviewed and based on the best available science
*Remove the requirement to compare the environmental effects of management alternatives when revising or amending forest plans
*Declare lands "generally available" for exploitation and assumes all lands are suitable for all purposes: off road vehicles, grazing, mining, logging, etc.
*Decrease consideration and protection of roadless and wilderness areas.
Please also cc your comments to your congressional representatives (www.Bark-out.org for list)! SHORT ON TIME? Take easy web action at: http://action.nwf.org/campaign/forests01242003?source=action_index
SAMPLE COMMENTS (From National Wildlife Federation):
Please accept my comments on the Bush administration's proposed new forest management rules. The new regulations call for significantly limiting environmental reviews and judicial oversight and would do away with mandatory wildlife monitoring procedures. The new rules would also undermine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a federal law that requires agencies to prepare detailed reports on the environmental impacts of proposals to log, mine, build roads or undertake other major activities on public lands. And perhaps most importantly, the proposal would essentially eliminate the current requirement that native species be maintained on national forests. America's 192 million acres of national forests harbor much of the nation's biological diversity, including 17 percent of federally endangered and threatened species.
The proposed rules are not only further evidence of an ongoing attempt to undermine NEPA, they ignore the true needs of people and wildlife, while catering solely to the "wants" of the timber industry. With more than 13,000 plant and animal species residing in our national forests, you can't possibly manage the nation's forests without accounting for wildlife and other environmental impacts.