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US Forest Service Releases Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

On Thursday, the US Department of Agriculture’s US Forest Service (USFS) released the final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for land management planning on National Forest System lands. The PEIS, which is the prelude to the final National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule, lists the USFS "preferred alternative" for the final Planning Rule language, as well as several alternatives for the final rule. The content of the preferred alternative is very similar to the draft rule language issued in February 2011.The PEIS will now be reviewed by the USDA Under Secretary, who will issue a final rule and record of decision in approximately 30 days. Once the final rule is released, the USFS plans to develop a set of planning directives to further guide the forest planning process, and will solicit public input on the directives. The USFS will also begin forest plan revisions nationwide, which will provide opportunity for public input on a forest-by-forest basis.

RCRC will be providing input on both the directives and relevant forest plan revisions as they are developed. The PEIS may be viewed at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/planningrule/home.

Please contact Staci Heaton at sheaton@rcrcnet.org with comments or questions.