On April 22, 2011, UFWDA joined a group of 65 organizations requesting that the US Forest Service (USFS) extend the public comment period expiring on May 16, 2011, for the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and proposed rule for the Forest Planning Rule. On May 4, 2011, Chief Tidwell responded to our request, denying an extension of the public comment period.
Today, we are asking you to contact your representatives in Congress asking them to persuade the Forest Service to extend the comment period to August 16 on this complex planning rule. Beyond the complexities of the proposed rule and the problematic timing and location of the few public meetings conducted by the agency, the public was just informed on April 28 that the agency commissioned and received a Science Review of the DEIS. This has left us merely 18 days, including weekends, to review and formulate a response to the information contained in the commissioned Science Review, a document the agency will undoubtedly rely heavily upon in justifying the amount and adequacy of science used in reaching a record of decision for the DEIS.
Please act today to contact your elected officials in Washington D.C. Urge them to contact the US Forest Service and Undersecretary Harris Sherman to extend your public comment period on the proposed Forest Planning Rule and DEIS. Please remind them of the long history of failed attempts to revise the current 1982 planning regulations under both President Clinton and President Bush. Underscore the need to take the time necessary today to craft regulations that will withstand legal scrutiny in the hopes that our work in the next few months will carry our future forest management efforts along for at least the same duration as the 1982 planning regulations have done over the past several decades.