The New USFS Planning Rule Is a Pack of Lies

The entire Fed Register document, Final Rule and Record of Decision, National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule, dated March 23rd, is [here] if you are interested.

It’s a pile of ecobabble gibberish, a set of rules that the US Forest Service intends to violate immediately — a pack of lies really.

Allow me to deconstruct the document and reveal it’s bogosity and mendacity for you. First, some background:

In March, 2007, five years ago, Northern California U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton enjoined the USDA and the Forest Service from implementing the 2005 Planning Rule [here]. The Planning Rule guides the creation, amending, and revision of National Forest Land and Resource Management Plans (LMRP’s) under the National Forest Management Act (NFMA).

In December 2009, more than two years ago and after a delay of three years, the USFS announced a process to create a new Planning Rule intended to get National Forest planning going again [here]. The USFS requested scoping comments to get them started on the process [here]. In December 2010, the USFS produced a draft rule and again requested public comments [here, here].

Last week the USFS released their finished product in the Federal Register [here].

Two years ago we respectfully requested [here] that the USFS include some items in their New Planning Rule, including:

* Define “restoration” as: Forest restoration means active management to bring back historical cultural landscapes, historical forest development pathways, and traditional ecological stewardship to achieve historical resiliency to fire and insects and to preclude and prevent a-historical catastrophic fires that decimate and destroy myriad resource values.

* All projects must be planned and implemented in accordance with existing laws and regulations, including NEPA. Abrogation of the NEPA process should not be the goal of the New Planning Rule. Wildfire use” has been adopted into many Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMPs) without appropriate NEPA processes. In no case has a single Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) been written for “wildfire use.” Public involvement in “wildfire use” planning has been eliminated by the avoidance of appropriate NEPA processes. Such illegality must be eliminated.

The USFS proceeded to ignore those comments entirely. They jumbled together a phony definition of restoration, and they called for more deliberate illegal burning without NEPA compliance.

The USFS has no intention of obeying NEPA. During the last 20 years, they have never prepared EIS’s or invited public testimony before they incinerated millions of acres in Let It Burn fires (aka wildfire use, fire use for resource benefit, prescribed natural fires, appropriate management response, natural fires used to achieve resource objectives, partial perimeter fires, and other bureaucratese bomfoggery).

The USFS did not in any manner “collaborate” with counties, tribes, and the public before they firebombed green, old-growth, spotted owl nesting forests in Oregon last summer.

The USFS create EIS’s for timber sales, but not for deliberate conflagrations that consume millions of acres. They give rationales for Let It Burn such as “create a visual mosaic” or “let nature take her course”. Those are treatment goals and the treatment, wildfire, has significant effect on the environment. But do they go through the NEPA process first, as required by law? In no way, shape, or form.

The New Planning Rule expresses the USFS’s wish to “re-introduce fire” into “fire-adapted ecosystems”. That’s pure ecobabble. Every acre with vegetation in America qualifies. There are no forests or grasslands that do not have charcoal in the soil. None. Congress never instructed them to do it, but the USFS goal is to burn every acre they own.

And all the acres they don’t own, too. The New Planning Rule requires National Forests to “…coordinate with neighboring landowners to link open spaces…” and to “Ensure planning takes place in the context of the larger landscape by taking an all-lands approach.”

That ecobabble stems from former Chief Gail Kimbell’s personal “Open Space Conservation Strategy” [here] and current Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s “All Lands Approach” [here]. In the former, the USFS plans to declare 200 million acres of private land “wilderness”, and in the latter they propose to burn down every home, business, and city within 30 miles of Federal land.

Congress never instructed them to do those things. Extending USFS suzerainty to all non-Federal (private) forest acres, and burning millions of acres of public and private forests to the ground are ideas the USFS came up with all by themselves. Congress’s contribution has been to remain deaf, dumb, and blind.

The New Planning Rule evinces a global warming agenda. Congress never instructed the USFS to do that. Global warming is a hoax. The USFS now manages by hoax.

All those ecobabble goals are in grovelling fealty to Agenda 21 [here].

It’s all too much by half. The states with appreciable Federal land (the Feds control 53% of Oregon’s land base) should demand that Congress cease and desist from waging war upon us, withdraw their Federal bureaucratic armies, and yield full sovereignty back to the States [here].

We don’t want the USFS anymore. They have proved to be a hazard, a public nuisance, and an impediment to stewardship. Thanks for the memories, but that was then, this is now.


12 Apr 2012, 11:28am
by Blake D.

Oregon has lost it roads to the USFS and our freedoms also here in the USA.



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