Bush Administration tries again with new Forest Service regulations

The Administration’s earlier attempt to revise the rules for national forest planning were quickly shot down by a federal court because they made the forest plans no longer subject to serious public comment and attempted to avoid NEPA for what had been the guiding document as to how a national forest would be managed for about a ten year period.

But these things were hardly the only things wrong with the new planning rule. Opponents argued in court that both the intent and the specifics of the guiding law, the National Forest Management Act of 1976, were being changed. The judge didn’t even bother to get that far before he told the Administration to start over, so they have.

Now they propose basically the same rules, but with public involvement and an environmental impact statement restored.

This will probably be struck down in court again, just like their proposed new grazing rules for BLM lands were.

The fundamental problem with this Administration is they don’t like public lands, they don’t like the public land laws, and they don’t think they have to obey any law they don’t like whether it has to do with public lands, the military, or anything else.

Bush and Cheney should have been impeached, removed from office, and made subject to penalties for the crimes they may have committed (after appropriate due process of law). They have violated their oath of office and committed high crimes and misdemeanors, IMO.

Jan. 2009, when they are gone, seems like forever away.

In the last line of this story, Matthew Daily wrote, “A Forest Service spokeswoman said the new plan would take effect after 60 days and was not subject to judicial review.” Yes, I suppose the Administration believes they are no longer subject to the courts as well as to statutory law.

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  1. ClapSo Avatar

    Thanks for covering the environmental crimes perpetrated by labushanostra. These things get little coverage elsewhere because of the shear volume of crimes this administration has done…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

  2. Wolfy Avatar

    I feel like all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years towards developing real laws that actually protect our environmental has went down the tubes. It seems like there is a huge backlash from the conservative right on anything to do with the environment. Its almost as though the environmental movement never happened.

    The backslide runs the gamut of roadless rules to FDA to immigration to ESA to the National Forest Management Act. It seems like what was made illegal under these regulations, acts and laws is now legal. What was made illegal is now warped and dirtied into some new, perverted federal guideline that allows the former illegal activities to occur.

    The sheer guile of this administration to keep insisting on new federal guidelines that have failed many times in court and not supported by the citizenry is a mockery of democracy and our legal system. State and local governments are following the example set by the “leadership” in Washington, as well. They are inspired by the fact that if its something they want to do and its illegal; they just change the laws. The corporate masters that our politicians serve are driving this. Its Orwellian. And scary.

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Living in one of the Forests undergoing plan revision under the new rule before the California court threw it out, the Shoshone National Forest in northwest Wyoming, it has been clear that the new planning rule had the sole intent of turning the Forest over to various industries.

    One of the ways in which the public was cut out of the process was the creation of a Government Cooperators Work Group, made up of county commissions, conservation districts, and a salting of other agencies like the Wyoming Game & Fish Department and the State Forestry office, not to mention the Governor’s Office. While the G&F representative tried to represent wildlife on the Group, the bulk of the effort of the Group was to open up the Forest to salvage logging and motorized recreation. I made several efforts to force the Forest to open up the Group to members of the public who saw the Forest as a forest rather than a factory, but was rebuffed at every turn by the Forest supervisor.

    The Forest Service calls this a new paradigm in forest planning, but it’s simply a return to the bad old 1950s and 1960s, when forestry was little more than laying out clearcuts.

  4. Wolfy Avatar

    I think you hit the nail right on the head: the Shoshone’s leadership would rather turn the forest over to the loggers and ranchers than allow the public to manage it. You have to remember that Becky Aus is a rancher’s daughter from Custer, SD. She doesn’t stray far from her roots in her present position. She stated in a meeting after hearing that the WY governor had declared open season on wolves and grizzlies: “Well good; now we can shoot them. No more predation problems.” She forgot that she represents the a federal land management agency and she is supposed to enforce federal laws (ESA).

    That same thinking is present in the current leadership in the on the Shoshone. They are too preoccupied by burning rangeland for cows and setting up below cost timber sales to worry about serving the needs of the people that pay them, the taxpayers. Just look at the conditions of the roads and campgrounds. The conditions of many of the recreational sites are an embarrassment and look like ghost towns. The lack of concern for the general public’s needs is readily apparent in the lack of care that the forest gives to its facilities. Given this, why would they care about the input from hunters, anglers, and other recreationalists in their forest plan? They are too busy cowing down to the interests of the ATVers, loggers, and ranchers to care about what the general public has to say.

  5. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    On the other hand, we have had difficulty in getting the public to show up at the meetings to speak for wilderness, wildlife, and ecosystem management. The meetings have been dominated by the “multiple use” crowd, multiple use meaning commercial use and natural resource extraction. It’s been a hard, hard process. It will be interesting to see how things shake out after the delay from the California court decision. Clearly, the USFS thinks that with its current “public involvement” in the 2005 cum 2007 planning rule, it can continue as it was prior to the court decision.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan