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RE: E-M:/ Huron Manistee Nat.Forest Plan Revision Mtgs - Feb 18-27

Enviro-Mich message from "Joshua Martin" <joshua@americanlands.org>

I agree very much that its important for all the groups to get involved in
this process of revising the Huron Manistee Forest Plan.  It is important
that we are all aware of the threat to our right to be involved that is
posed by the Bush Administration's rewrite of the forest planning
regulations of the National Forest Management Act.  A major component of
this would be to exempt the planning process from conducting full
environmental impact statements that involve the public.

We need to start building our coalition across these difference user groups
to resist this rollback.  All of us should be, exercising our rights at
these meetings and also weighing in with our Reps and Senators in Michigan.
Thus far both Vern Ehlers and Rep. Dingell have spoken out against these
rollbacks, but we need more.

Please find a text of American Lands factsheet on this subject below.  Thank

Joshua Martin
American Lands, Midwest


The Bush administration has proposed a major revision of the regulations
that guide the implementation of the National Forest Management Act (NFMA).
These regulations would render forest management plans meaningless and
dismantle a powerful means of ensuring that our National Forests are managed
sustainably.  The revision will remove science and the public further from
the Forest Service’s decision making process, jettison species protections,
and open the door to uncontrolled logging.

In 1976 the National Forest Management Act was passed with the recognition
that landscape level planning and direction were needed to ensure that the
cumulative effect of numerous projects across the landscape would not
undermine the sustainability of our National Forests.  The recognition of
this need for planning came out of a growing understanding of ecology and
public opposition to clear cut logging on federal lands.  Until now every
version of the regulations governing the planning process has been based
upon the best science of the time and was created with the active
participation of independent scientists.  The proposed revision of the
regulations was created without independent scientists and is in direct
defiance of the recommendations of the last Committee of Scientists.  The
revisions undermine the purpose of the NFMA by largely removing science from
the development and monitoring of the management plans and by making the
plans voluntary and non-binding.

The proposed regulations render the forest management plans meaningless:
•	Individual projects will not have to be consistent with the forest plan
due to provisions for easy exemption from the standards set out within the
•	Interim amendments to the plan may be issued by a regional forester
without any public review and can remain in effect for four years

Forest management plans will not have to undergo analysis under NEPA:
•	It is explicitly stated that forest management plans do not make an
“irreversible or irretrievable commitment of resources that may have a
significant effect on the environment” and thus categorical exclusions can
be used to exempt the plans from any formal environmental analysis or impact
•	The categorical exclusion of plans means that different alternatives of
the plans will not have to be offered or considered for review – the
provision for evaluating the merits of alternatives is the heart of NEPA
•	Analysis of the environmental impact of the plan is significantly reduced

Species protection is revoked:
•	Restricts the need for consideration of species viability to vertebrates
and vascular plants, eliminating any protection for fungus and insects
•	Bases species protection on habitat capacity, a concept that has already
been rejected as an effective protection of species viability
•	The large scale population dynamics of species would be ignored, possibly
creating isolated and unsustainable populations
•	Provisions are established that allow the sacrifice of short term
viability for long term goals

Science is eliminated from the planning process:
•	This is the first time that significant changes would be made to the
forest management regulations without independent scientific review
•	Extensive requirements for scientific review and consultation with
independent scientists in the development of forest plans would be
eliminated and replaced with optional provisions for including scientists in
the process
•	Monitoring requirements for measuring how effective the plans are at
promoting sustainability are significantly reduced, giving regional
foresters the discretion to determine the level of monitoring needed and
eliminating requirements for scientific review

Logging is given priority:
•	Provisions for salvage logging, hazardous fuels reduction, or habitat
improvements mean that logging is not restricted anywhere on Forest Service
lands unless explicitly stated in law
•	Other provisions would allow the maximum sustainable yield of timber
harvest to be exceeded without limit

Public participation is greatly restricted:
•	Only comments that cite exactly how the forest plans are inconsistent with
law, regulations, or other official policy will be considered, other
substantive comments on the direction or goals of the plans will be
•	The bypassing of NEPA review eliminates important opportunities for public
•	Only original comments will be considered, meaning the typical methods
that citizen’s groups use to weigh in on decisions will be ignored
•	There is no opportunity to appeal decisions on the plan

The current administration argues that the current regulations are too
complex to be implemented but the regulations are complex because the issues
are complex.  Any diminution of the planning will lead to a diminution of
our natural resources.  To ensure the sustainability of our National
Forests, NFMA makes specific provisions for scientific and public
participation in a comprehensive forest management planning process.  The
new regulations go to extremes to minimize this participation and the role
of forest plans in forest management.

The revised regulations should be withdrawn by the Bush Administration.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
[mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net]On Behalf Of Anne Woiwode
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2003 10:22 AM
To: Enviro-Mich
Subject: RE: E-M:/ Huron Manistee Nat.Forest Plan Revision Mtgs - Feb

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

Absolutely, getting involved is critical, whatever your interests. The best
decisions on managing all of our public forests will be made when there is
open discussion about differing interests, thorough scientific information,
and comprehensive application of the laws, particularly those designed to
assure public participation.

For those unfamiliar with the Huron Manistee NF, you may be surprised to
know that it has what is generally considered the foremost forum in the
country for interactions among all the interest groups, from the timber
industry to snowmobilers to horse riding organizations to bird watchers to
non-motorized recreationalists of all sorts to ecological advocates to local
residents associations and local units of government: the Friends of the
Huron Manistee National Forest.  The Friends have held open meetings twice
yearly, organized by the Forest Service with their staff providing
information and listening to the public, for pretty much the decade and one
half since a settlement agreement in the previous forest planning process
set the Friends up.  While it is far from perfect, it is an exceptional
forum for raising issues, providing open discussion, etc. for anyone who
cares about these forests.  The background materials on the Huron Manistee's
website include a significant amount of information that was gathered from
members of the Friends who participated in 10 meetings a few years ago to
help flesh out the issues of concern.

Ask the Huron Manistee to put you on their mailing list to get information
about the next Friends meeting as well as participating in the meetings
relating to the Plan Revision.

Anne Woiwode

Subject: Re: E-M:/ Huron Manistee Nat.Forest Plan Revision Mtgs - Feb

The environmental groups are not the only ones interested in the national
and state forest plans.  Many recreational groups including trail riding,
have a stake in the plans as well.

Being a horse person, trail rider, and caring environmentalist, I know first
hand that many recreational groups/types have lost the use of some of their
favorite sites.  If all the groups worked together, like they do in Ohio,
i.e.: horse groups, bike clubs, scouts and 4-H just to name a few, we would
get farther, faster.  For some reason we are separatist on some of these
issues.  All these groups are alike in the fact that they don't want to be
shut out of any more areas.  So why don't we all work together more?  Good

The only way that we get changes, is be part of the solution, in other

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