Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Rules Would Restore Forests, Create Opportunities for Timber Industry

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM

The White House is poised to unveil new rules to manage the nation's nearly 200 million acres of national forests.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the rules would replace guidelines thrown out by a federal court in 2009. According USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, the plan would encourage forest restoration and watershed protection while creating opportunities for the timber industry and those who use forests for recreation.

Several attempts to revise a 1982 forest planning rule have been repeatedly thrown out by federal courts. Most recently, a Bush administration plan was struck down and the Obama administration did not appeal the ruling.

The new regulations would also give forest managers more flexibility to address conditions on the ground, such as projects to thin the forest to reduce wildfire risk.

The 155 national forests and grasslands managed by the U.S. Forest Service cover 193 million acres in 42 states and Puerto Rico.

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