18 Jan 2008, 11:11pm
Federal forest policy
by admin

USFS Alters NEPA Approach

The US Forest Service is redesigning their NEPA approach. Instead of forest by forest creation of NEPA docs (such as Environmental Impact Statements) they plan to concentrate that work in six new NEPA “service centers.”

For an excellent report on this new arrangement, see the Rogue Pundit [here].

Consolidating the Forest Service

In 2006, the Forest Service hired a consultant to study its work involved in satisfying the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The goal was to come up with recommendations for improving efficiency and saving money, with an eye towards possibly privatizing the work. The resulting feasibility study (here) hasn’t exactly impressed the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Here are the calmer parts of the press release…

The U.S. Forest Service is on the verge of approving a massive restructuring that will remove land management planning from individual forests, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The resulting reorganization will affect one in four agency jobs, shrink its on-the-ground firefighting militia and rigidify resource planning.

The plan, called a “Business Process Reengineering,” would consolidate virtually all work performed under NEPA, the basic planning law that shapes significant agency resource management actions. Altogether, nearly 8,000 employees out of the agency’s 30,000 person workforce now perform NEPA-related work. Almost all of this work is done at the forest level.

Under the Business Process Reengineering, all of these functions would be moved into six “eco-based Service Centers” where forest planning would be standardized… [more]

19 Jan 2008, 2:36pm
by Mike

And now Mark Rey denies the whole maryann! Public Land News [here] reports:

Under Secretary of Agriculture Mark Rey told PLN this week no such action is being contemplated. “I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said. “I don’t think we found anything in the way of savings that would justify doing it. We’re not going to do that.”

A Forest Service spokesman agreed with Rey that no reorganization was imminent. “They (PEER) are really off the mark,” said service spokesman Joe Walsh. For one thing, he said, Congress forbids the service from spending any money that could involve outsourcing.

So the situation is murky. Which cup is the pea under?

19 Jan 2008, 11:14pm
by Gordie

I’m wondering how they legally paid for part of that study if they’re not allowed to spend money that could involve outsourcing.

20 Jan 2008, 12:06am
by Mike

And whose side is Mark Rey really on? And who’s in charge, the left hand or the right hand? Are they aware of each other?

Definitely a mixed message emanating from DC. Curiouser and curiouser.

20 Jan 2008, 5:17pm
by Backcut

TEAMS Enterprise has had great success in doing NEPA documents as “internal outsourcing.” I’ve stayed away from my government computer, now that I’m laid off for the winter. With TEAMS’ placement in the new Region 7, and based (at least on paper) out of the Washington Office, it would not surprise me to see lots more NEPA work headed our way. All too often, NEPA documents are made from templates and use the same supporting documentation for scope and purpose.

I’m always more involved with implementing plans and struggling to “make the ground fit the plan”… LOL. A good forester knows when to adjust his timber marking to match the stand. I always enjoy getting a new marking prescription, briefly scanning it over, and then loudly announcing, “Good! Marker’s Choice!!” (with tongue firmly in cheek)

I DO fully utilize the choices the prescription gives me when wielding “the blue death spray”.



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