Action Alert: National Environmental Policy Act Under Attack. Comments Due August 12

Our National Forests Are At Risk Of Clearcutting, Mining, and Destruction

Right now, the U.S. Forest Service is attempting to eliminate public participation for the vast majority of projects for the nation’s 193 million acres of national forest lands, as a way of fast-tracking clear-cut logging, mining and road building.

The rule would gut one of the essential bedrock laws that protects the right of the American public to know about and participate in decisions that affect federal public land, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Specifically, these changes would create loopholes that would vastly increase the amount of logging and mining on public land– while keeping the public in the dark. Please take a moment to oppose these extreme changes by submitting a comment today.

In addition to cutting the public out of the decision-making process and eliminating science-based decisions, the proposal endangers all Americans by:

  • Putting clean drinking water at risk of pollution. Millions of people in the U.S. depend on clean water that originates in our national forests. These forests serve as natural purifiers. Logging, mining, road building and related activities degrade streams and waterways and pollute water.
  • Giving extractive industries supremacy on public lands. This proposed rule is a boon to extractive industries who would directly benefit from the lack of public input and elimination of science-based decisions.
  • Reducing Backcountry Recreation Opportunities. This rule would allow thousands of miles of new roads to be built into our last remaining wild places. Once these roads are built, they will forever change opportunities for backcountry recreation into our last remaining wild places.

Submit your comment now and stand up for public engagement and science based decision making!


Sample Activist Comment

Comment letters that are identical are being lumped together. If using the sample letter below be sure to change the wording/order of the letter so its counted as a separate comment!

I am writing you today to ask the Forest Service to REJECT the proposed changes to its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) policies. The proposed changes would allow the agency to move project planning behind closed doors by cutting out the public from the decision-making process and eliminating any science-based review of impacts to water, recreation, and wildlife.

These changes would create loopholes to increase the speed and scale of resource extraction including logging and mining — while eliminating public awareness and input on up to 93% of proposed projects. If implemented, the changes would severely restrict the ability of local communities to weigh in on Forest Service projects impacting them. This is wrong and I urge you to REJECT these proposed changes.

In addition, the proposed changes:

  • Put clean drinking water at risk of pollution. Millions of people in the U.S. depend on clean water that originates in our national forests. These forests serve as natural purifiers. Logging, mining, road building and related activities degrade streams and waterways and pollute water. To safeguard the nation’s supply of clean drinking water, the Forest Service should reject this rule.
  • Give extractive industries supremacy on public lands. The primary beneficiaries of the new rule are logging, mining and oil and gas companies who would directly benefit from broad discretion the forest service would now have to approve massive extractive projects with no public or scientific involvement.
  • Reduce backcountry recreation opportunities. The new provisions of this rule could result in thousands of miles of new roads being built into our last remaining wild places, with no public involvement or notification. Once these roads are built, they will forever change opportunities for backcountry recreation into our last remaining wild places.

  • Endanger wildlife and pristine forest land. This rule will result in dramatic increases in mining, oil and gas leasing and clear-cut logging that will have irreparable consequences on wildlife and carve up our public lands turning them into industrial parks.

If the Forest Service was actually interested in addressing the causes of inefficiency in environmental decision-making, the agency would focus on increasing funding, staffing, and training and reducing staff turnover. This draft rule is a thinly veiled attempt to make it easier to rubberstamp permits for massive corporations to clear-cut, drill, and mine in our national forests.

Thank You.


Comment Submission Instructions

There are three ways to submit comments as part of the Forest Service NEPA Rule Rewrite. Please be aware, all comments must be submitted to the Forest Service in writing by August 12th. This includes comments that are mailed directly. If you are planning on mailing any comments, please put them in the mail by August 7th.

  1. Submit comments via the public participation portal: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FS-2019-0010-0001
    • In the top right corner of the comment page, there is a blue button that reads ‘Comment Now!’. If you click on the button, it will take you to the form to submit a comment.
    • On the comment submission page, there are form fields to submit your comment (e.g., Comment, First Name, Last Name). You also have the option of uploading a document (such as a technical letter or sign-on letter) as well as adding your contact information. Once you have filled out your necessary fields, click on the blue button that says ‘Continue’ at the bottom of the page.
      • NOTE: The comment portal has some issues certain browser extensions and won’t let you continue. If this happens, please email your comment to: [email protected]
    • The following page is a Preview of your comment. To submit your comment, you must click on the box at the bottom of the page next to ‘I read and understand the statement above.’ Then click on the blue box that says ‘Submit Comment.’
  2. Email your comment to: [email protected]
    • When emailing your comment, be sure to include your name, address, city, state, zip code, and phone number.
  3. Mail a physical copy of your comment to:
    NEPA Services Group, c/o Amy Barker;
    USDA Forest Service,
    125 South State Street, Suite 1705
    Salt Lake City, UT 84138

NOTE: If you run into issues with comment submission, you can contact Christine Dawe; Director, Ecosystem Management Coordination; (406) 370-8865.