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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
 

Forest Service Issues New Regulations

Washington, DC - Today the Bush Administration issued new Forest Planning Regulations that will help simplify and streamline implementation of the 1976 National Forest Management Act (NFMA), the law that directs management plans to be developed and implemented for all national forests (over 120 of them) every fifteen years.  Today's action will also rescind the previous rule as well as create a new Categorical Exclusion under NEPA, for adopting, revising and amending forest plans.

"I applaud the Bush Administration's actions today to modernize the archaic planning process the Forest Service has been using since 1982 to manage our national forests-----this is long past due," said Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA).  "Under current procedures it takes the agency 7 years and $7.5 million, on average, to produce just one forest plan.  The process is so burdensome and time consuming that the plans are obsolete before they are finished.  These Soviet-like methods have produced so many outdated plans and so much red-tape that the agency has been incapable of responding to changing conditions in our forests; such as insect and disease outbreaks, hurricane and storm damage, and catastrophic wildfire."

The Administration's new regulations will streamline the process while continuing to allow for full public participation.  This new policy will also require more active participation by scientists and better utilization of current scientific data.    

"Undoubtedly, some extreme groups will respond in predictable fashion, using sky-is-falling rhetoric to mischaracterize this necessary revision," Pombo continued.  "Anyone caring, however, for the thoughtful and timely management of our national forests, and for reducing the waste of taxpayer's money, will join me in support of the new regulations and their speedy implementation."

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