Federal court ruling in California covers entire country; requires agency to allow appeals on decisions made under streamlined process
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A federal judge in California this week ruled that the U.S. Forest Service can’t simply drop a post-decision appeals process for logging, forest health and other projects approved under a categorical exclusions, which is a streamlined approval process for smaller projects. In those decisions, the appeals process is replaced with a pre-decisional objection period, which enables people to raise concerns before the final decision is made. Read the decision here (PDF on Scribd.com) or at the end of the post.
That means citizens or stakeholder groups across the country once again have the right to challenge certain Forest Service projects after the final decision has been made by a district- or forest-level official.
The agency has often used the categorical exclusion process in recent years to gain speedy approval for projects relating to the pine beetle epidemic. While many of the projects aren’t controversial, some have been. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, US Forest Service | Tagged: categorical exclusions, Environment, Forest health, forest service appeals, public lands, U.S. Forest Service | 17 Comments »