Bishop Responds to New Forests Planning Rule

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Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Natural Resources National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, today responded to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s release of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule.  The PEIS will be published in the Federal Register on February 3, 2012 and the Secretary will then issue a record of decision no less than 30 days after.

The National Forest System consists of 155 National Forests and 20 Grasslands, totaling 192 million acres in 44 States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

“Gifford Pinchot and other early founders of the National Forest System sought to ensure that we would have working forests that would serve multiple objectives.  Their intention for creating the National Forest System was not to block access to our resources but to ensure that the federal estate remained a sustainable resource for years to come.  It seems as though many in Washington have overlooked this, and instead look for ways to prevent multiple-use management of our federal lands.  This should not be the case.  I am concerned that this final rule continues that very sentiment and I hope that the Administration recognizes that it undermines the intent and purpose for which the National Forest System was established,” said Congressman Bishop who, along with 58 other Members of Congress, issued a letter to Secretary Vilsack expressing concern over restrictive regulations included in the proposed new rule.

The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976 requires that forests and grasslands managed by the Forest Service maintain a Land Management Plan (also known as a forest plan).В  The process for the development of the plans is outlined by the planning rule.

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