Draft Concepts for the Proposed Rule Content

The Obama Administration initiated an Open Government Initiative in January of 2009. We are honored that the 2011 planning rule was chosen as one of the Department of Agriculture’s two Open Government Initiatives. As President Obama stated “My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government… Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

Since announcing our intent to develop a new planning rule, we’ve offered many opportunities to get involved. On top of accepting formal comments on our Notice of Intent (NOI), we’ve invited participation through a national science forum, four national roundtable discussions (all broadcast live on the web), virtual and in-person Tribal meetings, over 30 regional meetings held throughout the country, and of course, through this blog. We’ve gathered an incredible amount of input and have been working hard to craft that input into the concepts that will go into the proposed rule.

Throughout July 2010 we posted our initial ideas on how to address a variety of topics in the proposed planning rule, and we learned a tremendous amount from all the feedback we received.  These posts are not rule language.  They are a work in progress and may look different in the proposed and final rules.  Our first post laid out the overall framework that we are considering for the structure of the rule as well as for land management planning. Other posts shared our ideas for addressing specific topics through the framework, such as the all-lands approach, public involvement, diversity, water resources and watershed health, ecological restoration and other critical issues discussed at the roundtables.

We’ve now entered a new phase of the rule development process, as explained in our 8/25/10 blog post.  We are currently finalizing the proposed rule and DEIS for clearance by the Department of Agriculture and Office of Management and Budget. We expect the proposed rule and DEIS to be published in the Federal Register in early 2011.  We will seek formal comment on the proposed rule and DEIS, and will hold additional public meetings when the proposed rule and DEIS are published..