Iowa Public Television


New Forest Management Rules Unveiled

posted on December 24, 2004

Managers of the nation's 155 national forests will have more leeway to approve logging and other commercial projects with less formal environmental review under a new Bush administration plan.

The long-awaited plan will overhaul application of the landmark 1976 National Forest Management Act, which sets the basic rules for management of the nation's 191 million acres of forests and grasslands.

The new rules would leave intact some of the most contentious proposals from an earlier version of the plan released last year. Like that plan, the final version gives regional forest managers more discretion to approve logging, drilling and mining operations without having to conduct formal scientific investigations known as environmental impact statements.

Critics say such analyses, which outline the impact of a proposed activity on plant and animal life, can take years to complete. The new rules envision a more flexible approach that could be completed in months.

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