The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a bedrock procedural law signed by President Nixon, has just been gutted by the U.S. Forest Service-USDA. The logging industry, oil and gas industry and other industrial “rapers and scrapers” have successfully lobbied for one giant free-fire development zone on any and all of the 193 million acres of nation forest system land under federal agency management.
Public participation is already being eliminated on huge proposed timber sales involving thousands of acres. Using exemptions in the new “Rule” huge clearcuts can now be repeated time and again with no cumulative effects analysis and little anyone can do to stop “wall-to-wall” destruction of that’s left of our national forest legacy.
Within days of the Rule change, the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest (Montana) announced the “Boulder-Baldy Project” which would “treat” approximately 6,043 (13 is a “spook number”) acres of vegetation using a combination of intermediate and regeneration (clearcutting) harvest methods. They are planning on building 32.8 miles of new “temporary” roads. The agency announcement doesn’t say anything about submitting public comments but it states the public can contact the Ranger if they have any questions. There is no mention if this is a CE or an EA or an EIS.
This — killing things — must be the “new normal.” Same as the old normal.