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05/13/2010

Forest Planning Rule Process Features Strong Conservation Message

This week, a six-week long public process held about forest planning came to an end in Washington, DC.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service held 33 public roundtable discussions to help craft the planning rule that will govern how all 193 million acres of our national forest and grasslands are managed.  The Sierra Club's fantastic organizers and activists took the lead at these public events and used the roundtables as opportunities to unite various segments of our base and to show the administration broad support for updating the planning rule to address climate change and adaptation.

Waterfall 
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Our organizers worked to turn out as wide and representative a group as possible to voice their concerns and needs.  Business owners, hunters and anglers, scientists, avid outdoor enthusiasts, and land managers all have a stake in our national forests.  These lands support millions of green jobs, in addition to fish and wildlife, and need help adapting to climate change.  They are also one of our biggest assets in fighting climate change as they sequester enormous amounts of carbon if managed properly.  One of our jobs has been to make sure that the public and the administration see those connections and develop a strong planning rule with clear national standards to better protect these resources and values.

Throughout the six-week process, we heard several themes raised repeatedly by citizens in every city: to be successful, the new forest planning rule must apply sound science, preserve water and watersheds, protect fish and wildlife, address climate change, and ensure accountability to the public.  To be sure, the administration has started a good process, but its success will ultimately depend on the final rule that is adopted and implemented.  Here's to hoping the administration listens to the American public.

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