Analysis Paralysis May Be Put To Rest
The U.S. Forest Service is taking a look at revising a federal law that opened the door to environmentalism. The current law that requires a NEPA analysis prior to logging, mining or road projects impact the beneficial use of the public resources.
United States Forest Service (USFS) is charged with managing 200 million acres for the benefit of the people, but because of the environmental analysis policies in place, the neglect of management is rampant.
The USFS is working to go back to the “Categorical Exclusion” process that will exempt logging projects under 4200 acres. The move will fast track the salvage and management of timber resources across the west.
With advances in best management practices, it is also under consideration to include mining projects that have less than one mile of surface disturbance. Technology bringing back the ability to enjoy beneficial use of our resources is a high priority.
There is a huge demand for maintaining the transportation system on public lands. The ability to build and maintain roads is being hamstrung by environmentalism. They are blaming motorized use on everything from degradation of natural resources to threat of endangered species.
The lack of proper management is currently showing its true colors again this summer. In Idaho, thousands of acres of timber resources are going up in smoke.
The proposal is working through the system, but eco~extremists are gearing up for battle. They are using loopholes in current law to force management into court costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year.
Tort reform has been mentioned, but the elected officials in Washington DC do not have the courage to stand up to what many out west are calling environmental terrorism.
On June 12th 2019, USFS opened up the proposal to the public with a press release. According to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue; “We are committed to doing the work to protect people and infrastructure from catastrophic wildfire. With millions of acres in need of treatment, years of costly analysis and delays are not an acceptable solution – especially when data and experience show us we can get this work done with strong environmental protection standards as well as protect communities, livelihoods and resources.”
The current USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen stated; “We have pored over 10 years of environmental data and have found that in many cases, we do redundant analyses, slowing down important work to protect communities, livelihoods and resources.” She also states that; “We now have an opportunity to use that information to our advantage, and we want to hear from the people we serve to improve these proposed updates.”
Will the analysis paralysis come to an end so resource management can get back in charge of the public resources? The proposal is currently directed at restoration projects, roads & trail management, recreation and facility management.
The proposal also gives attention to special use authorizations that currently need full NEPA scrutiny. Environmental assessments up to full analysis can cause delays by months and even years. This is a direct cause of the loss of the beneficial use of natural resources.
Eco~extremist organizations are already calling foul on the proposal. Under the current system, even if the proposed change to NEPA is accomplished, resource management will likely still see litigation and analysis paralysis. If Congress does not institute “Tort Reform” eco~extremist organizations will continue to litigate, and they will be paid by the taxpayers to do so!
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