Thompson Reacts to Forest Service Planning Rule

Feb 2, 2012 Issues: Agriculture, Allegheny National Forest

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Forest Service’s announcement of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule:  

“Unlike national parks, our national forests are intended for multiple uses.  This means our national forests are actively managed, and include activities such as timber harvesting, energy production and recreation,” said Thompson. “I remain committed to seeing that this goal of multiple uses is a central tenet  of the nationally spanning planning rule.”  

The National Forest Management Act of 1976 mandated that each of the country’s 155 national forests, with public input, establish individual management plans. The Forest Service’s planning rule provides the outline for establishing these forest plans.  Despite ongoing efforts over decades to rewrite the current planning rule, the Forest Service still operates under a rule that was established in 1982.

Thompson, the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Conservation, Energy, & Forestry Subcommittee, has actively engaged the Forest Service since the agency first released a proposed rule on February 14, 2011.  Thompson’s subcommittee held a hearing on this proposed rule in May.  The hearing featured testimonies by U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary of Natural Resources Harris Sherman, Warren County Commissioner John Bortz, and several other stakeholders.

“I appreciate the work of the Forest Service in finally moving towards a new planning rule, but we still have a number of issues to work through,” added Thompson. “I have made it abundantly clear to Forest Service Chief Tidwell and Under Secretary Sherman that I continue to have concerns with some provisions of this new rule.  Specifically, I’m concerned about the lack of adequate emphasis on timber harvesting and not enough action to help prevent unnecessary, wasteful litigation. Therefore, I look forward to continuing to work with the Service on improving the rule  and seeing that the Service succeeds in its core mission of multiple uses,” Thompson concluded.

The final planning rule will be selected within 30 days of the publication of the PEIS.

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