Western Governors encourage Forest Service to engage meaningfully with states on NEPA review

Western Governors urge the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to “meaningfully engage with states” as the agency reviews its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and rulemaking processes.

In outreach to USFS Chief Vickie Christiansen, WGA Chair North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and WGA Vice Chair Oregon Gov. Kate Brown note their appreciation for the agency’s commitment to partner on forest and rangeland management objectives outlined in the MOU between WGA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Additionally, the Governors provide feedback on the process and substance of the USFS’s proposed rule, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance, 84 FR 27544 (Proposed Rule).

“Because states manage environmental and natural resources within their borders, Governors are necessary partners in federal permitting and environmental reviews affecting those resources,” the outreach notes. However, the “Proposed Rule neither reflects meaningful consultation nor seizes this opportunity.”

The Governors also offer substantive recommendations regarding the Proposed Rule on the topics of state engagement in the NEPA process and categorical exclusions.

“Western Governors appreciate their partnership with the USDA and USFS in land management,” concludes the outreach of July 23, 2019. “This partnership can be strengthened through changes to USFS’s treatment of states in the NEPA and rulemaking processes.”

The letter also includes process recommendations and actions the agency can take to effectively engage states in the NEPA process.

Read, download the letter.

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