US: Forest Service seeks to exempt some logging and mining from environmental review rules - PressFrom - US
  •   
  •   
  •   

USForest Service seeks to exempt some logging and mining from environmental review rules

05:35  13 june  2019
05:35  13 june  2019 Source:   latimes.com

Dem lawmakers blast Trump for opening door to mining in Grand Canyon

Dem lawmakers blast Trump for opening door to mining in Grand Canyon Democratic lawmakers are challenging a new Trump administration report they say is - along with other White House moves - a precursor to opening the Grand Canyon to uranium mining. Speaking at a House natural resources hearing Wednesday, various lawmakers challenged the plan, arguing the U.S. did not need to mine for its own uranium - and definitely didn't need to mine the Grand Canyon.The Commerce Department report, titled "Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals," released Tuesday night, lays out methods to ensure the federal government is mining what it considers "critical minerals" for national security purposes.

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing changes to a landmark environmental law that would allow it to fast-track some forest management projects U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, shown in her office in Washington, D.C., says the proposed rule changes are about efficiency, not shortcuts.

voice in reviewing an Obama-era ruling blocking mining in a swath of forest near Minnesota’s That’s how long it took some buses to make their way along Marquette Avenue during the peak of At 5 p.m., buses inched their way along the busy corridor prompting some to wonder if that will become

Forest Service seeks to exempt some logging and mining from environmental review rules© ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS A U.S. Forest Service firefighter keeps an eye on burning hills on June 20, 2016, in Duarte, Calif., as twin fires have already scorched more than 3,500 acres and forced evacuations continue to burn with zero percent containment in the San Gabriel Valley, northeast of Los Angeles. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images/TNS) **FOR USE WITH THIS STORY ONLY**

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday announced plans to narrow the scope of a major environmental law, allowing the agency to fast-track activity throughout the national forest system without undergoing environmental review.

Fire consumes 6,000 acres in Tonto National Forest in Arizona

Fire consumes 6,000 acres in Tonto National Forest in Arizona Firefighters have been unable to contain a fast-moving wildfire in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. The Mountain Fire, which was reported Friday afternoon, has burned about 6,200 acres in the national forest northeast of Phoenix, according to InciWeb, an interagency emergency management service. The fire was human-caused, officials said, without providing more details. Strong winds are making it difficult to fight the fire, CNN affiliate KPHO reported. Day-use areas and campgrounds near Horseshoe and Bartlett lakes have been closed, creating long lines of vehicles leaving the park, KPHO reported.

Environmental impacts of mining can occur at local, regional, and global scales through direct and indirect mining practices. Impacts can result in erosion, sinkholes, loss of biodiversity

Additional Environmental Problems with Mining Case studies like these illustrate the result of ignoring the environmental damages of mining , and leaving them unaddressed or unregulated. All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Balancing Conservation and Development in Venezuela's Frontier Forests .

The proposed changes could potentially make it easier for logging, road building and other construction projects to gain approval than under current rules - and much more quickly. One of the revisions, for example, would eliminate the need to conduct an environmental study before allowing mining on land parcels up to one square mile in size.

To speed the pace of these activities, the agency has proposed exempting many of them from the National Environmental Policy Act, a landmark law that's been in place since 1970 and requires federal agencies such as the Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct environmental impact reviews of their actions and programs. The revisions would also remove the requirement for many actions to be subject to public comment.

Green groups sue Trump administration for gutting offshore oil safety rules

Green groups sue Trump administration for gutting offshore oil safety rules USA-OIL/SAFETY-LAWSUIT:Green groups sue Trump administration for gutting offshore oil safety rules

Share Print Environmental Review Process Most discretionary land use actions considered by the City Planning Commission (CPC) are subject to the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Only certain minor actions, known as Type II actions, are exempt from environmental review .

Mining , logging and energy development take place in some national forest areas. A 90-day period of public comment on the proposed rule ended on Monday; the rule is expected to go into effect by year’s end. That deadline prompted a flurry of communiques to the Obama administration.

The agency's plan would result in the first major change in how it administers the act in over a decade.

The changes are in keeping with the Trump administration's belief that the greatest obstacles to reducing the risk of wildfire are bureaucracy and environmentalists. In the aftermath of the devastating Camp fire in California last year, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke singled out both for blame and called for the federal government to have more leeway to cut down trees and remove dead vegetation.

Forest Service officials said the proposed changes would save money and reduce the amount of time it spends on environmental analysis at a time when the agency is increasingly having to devote more of its budget and attention to fighting wildfires.

Rules requiring the agency to conduct environmental reviews often add a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy, Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen said in a call with reporters.

Concern rises about possible uranium mining near Grand Canyon

Concern rises about possible uranium mining near Grand Canyon Federal officials are expected to rule in the next month on a petition that could eventually lead to uranium mining around the Grand Canyon, which conservation advocates warn could irreparably pollute the region's limited groundwater supply. While the petition is under consideration, the Commerce and Interior departments have made a series of decisions including reclassifying uranium as a critical mineral and developing a plan calling for increased domestic mining.

Mining , logging and energy development take place in some national forest areas. A 90-day period of public comment on the proposed rule ended on Monday; the rule is expected to go into effect by year’s end. That deadline prompted a flurry of communiques to the Obama administration.

Some resources can be mined using more than one method, as in the case of coal, gold and uranium, and can then have many environmental impacts Copper and nickel dust from mines can make soil acidic for many kilometers of land around mines , and affect plant growth and animals reports the

"We found we do more analysis than we need. We take more time than we need and we slow down important work," Christiansen said. "Under this proposed rule, we can more ably respond to unprecedented challenges that result from catastrophic fire, extended drought and insects and disease infestation."

Environmental advocates criticized the agency's plan, saying it would be a boon for logging companies while leaving the public in the dark as to what's being done on federal forest land.

"This is clearly consistent with the Trump administration's desire to reduce government and to cut the public out of the process of managing a public asset," said Susan Jane Brown, an attorney for advocacy group Western Environmental Law Center.

The Forest Service is underfunded and understaffed, Brown said, which leads to long delays and backlogs that can slow projects. But overhauling the rules to allow for sweeping exemptions is not the solution, she said.

"To try to draw a line between climate change-induced wildfire and the need to cut the public out of the process of wildland management is disingenuous," Brown said.

Former Lake Forest Mail Carrier Arrested on Suspicion of Molesting 3 Girls; More Victims Sought

Former Lake Forest Mail Carrier Arrested on Suspicion of Molesting 3 Girls; More Victims Sought A Lake Forest man who previously worked as a mail carrier was arrested after allegedly molesting three girls beginning in 2016, and officials are looking for more potential victims. Craig Allen Thomas is shown in a photo released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department on June 13, 2019. Craig Allen Thomas, 61, is suspected of multiple counts of child molestation and possessing child pornography, Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials said in a news release Thursday. The victims, who were all under 12 years old when the alleged assaults occurred, knew Thomas. Details of the incidents or when they occurred were not released.

"The Forest Service 's insistence on locking in an accelerated transition to a young growth program without an inventory to show whether that is Environmental groups that support moving the timber industry away from old growth said it is necessary to support fishing and tourism industries in the region.

Any future proposal to log public native forests should be subject to commonwealth environmental laws in the same way as for all other industries “Not even the mining industry has the sort of wildlife protection exemptions enjoyed by the native forest logging industry, so it is no wonder so many of

The agency's plans include a proposal to exempt "ecosystem restoration" from environmental review. Among the activities that would be exempted is timber harvesting, or logging, which the Forest Service proposes to allow on up to 4,200 acres without an environmental study or a requirement to hear from the public.

The proposal would also permit prescribed burning, hazardous fuels reduction and forest thinning on 7,300 acres without environmental reviews.

Another suggested change would allow the Forest Service to adopt environmental review exemptions used by other federal agencies, which could significantly broaden the types of activities that would no longer be subject to analysis and public debate.

Christiansen on Wednesday also said that the rule overhaul would benefit people who use the national forests for recreation, as it could potentially speed road, trail and campsite repairs.

"This new rule helps us live up to our commitment to engage the public," she said.

In 2018, the agency spent 57% of its budget on firefighting, compared with 16% in 1995. Employees previously assigned to other areas have been pulled away to focus on the growing threat from fires, which are only expected to become more frequent and dangerous as climate change reshapes weather patterns in California and the West.

"With millions of acres in need of treatment, years of costly analysis and delays are not an acceptable solution - especially when data and experience show us we can get this work done with strong environmental protection standards as well as protect communities, livelihoods and resources," Perdue said in a statement.

Aaron Weiss, a spokesman for the Colorado-based conservation group Center for Western Priorities, called the proposal, "a giveaway to timber interests above all else."

"I guarantee it will be challenged in court," he said.

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Trump proposal nixes review of long-term climate impacts.
The White House on Friday proposed reversing an Obama-era policy that directs agencies to consider the climate impact from various projects.The draft guidance would change the way agencies evaluate the environmental effect of things like pipelines and oil and gas drilling."Agencies should analyze reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences of major Federal actions, but should not consider those that are remote or speculative," the guidance said in a section about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 17
This is interesting!