Forest Service might limit public comments

Under President Donald Trump, federal agencies have chipped away at the reviews and permitting required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws. Earlier this month, the Forest Service proposed a significant overhaul of the NEPA process for logging and development on millions of acres of federal forest and grassland across the West.

In a statement, the Forest Service said NEPA environmental reviews are time-consuming, redundant and prevent active maintenance of healthy forests. The agency called it the first serious change to NEPA’s regulation of forest management in more than 10 years.

The public until August 12, 2019 to weigh in on these significant changes. Here are some key takeaways:

  • The proposed changes would reduce environmental review for logging and infrastructure.
  • The changes would undercut public engagement.
  • The backlog is already long.
  • The changes will almost certainly end up in court.

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