Forest Service proposed change comes under fire

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Public would have less input on land management issues, opponents say

  • Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture
    Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture
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Local residents are concerned about a proposed change to U.S. Forest Service rules that some say would eliminate public input on decisions about timber and land management.

The Forest Service proposed in June to revise its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. The public has until August 12, 2019 to comment on the matter.

Nicole Hayler, executive director of Chattooga Conservancy, argues that the proposed rule change would eliminate the ability for the public to comment on these new projects labeled “categorical exclusion,” such as commercial logging up to 4,200 acres, building up to five miles of new roads at one time, and closing access roads used by the public for hunting, fishing, recreation, etc. bulldozing for new pipelines and utility rights-of-way.

Chattooga Conservancy is a local nonprofit organization that protects the natural ecological integrity of the Chattooga River watershed ecosystems and educates communities to practice good stewardship on public and private lands, according to the organizations website.

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