The comment deadline for the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has been extended to Monday, August 26. If you haven’t already, you can register an official comment on this proposal by clicking here to the website. It only takes a couple minutes to make your voice heard.
The proposed regulations are important because they represent an effort by the Forest Service to restore unhealthy forests more quickly, and at less cost to taxpayers. You can read the proposed regulations in detail here. A recent op-ed in The Hill explains why the agency should follow through on this effort
Over 80 million acres of national forest system land is at immediate risk of catastrophic wildfire, insects and disease. Nationally over 24 million acres have burned since 2015. The Forest Service once generated $1 billion in revenues every year, but now spends $2 for every $1 it produces.
The Forest Service can’t keep up when it’s spending more time doing paperwork and less time in the woods. The time required to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) has risen from 817 days to over 1,300. The number of days required to complete an environmental assessment (EA) increased from 594 days to 730 days. In a time of spiraling wildfire suppression costs, the Forest Service spends $350 million just to comply with NEPA.
There’s a better way. Please take a moment to urge the Forest Service to improve its NEPA process to improve the health of our forests, and to proactively protect our communities through forest management activities, including logging, thinning and prescribed burning.