“Logging industry says the change will help the U.S. Forest Service better manage wildfires. Conservationists say it weakens a key environmental law and dilutes the public’s ability to weigh in.”
“In a last minute change before leaving office, the Trump administration finalized a rule Wednesday that will allow the U.S. Forest Service to log and otherwise manage 2,800 acres of forest in the West without an environmental review.
Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement that the Forest Service, which he oversees, needs the rule change to “improve our ability to maintain and repair the infrastructure people depend on to use and enjoy their national forests — such as roads, trails, campgrounds and other facilities.”
But conservationists say the impact of the rule change goes far beyond a single parcel of 2,800 acres. The rule weakens requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that compel the Forest Service to study the potential environmental harm of approved developments and to publicly share that scientific analysis so the public can submit informed comments on the proposed work.”