USDA Forest Service today announced a 15-day extension to the public comment period for the proposed road management policy, which aims to deal with the agency's more than 380,000 miles of roads throughout the nation's 155 national forests and 20 grasslands.
The extension gives interested individuals and groups the opportunity to provide comments until May 17, 2000. The internet, electronic mail, postal and facsimile systems in place since the Forest Service published the proposed rule March 3, 2000, remain available to register comment.
The Forest Service has at least an $8.4 billion maintenance and reconstruction backlog and receives only about 20 percent of the annual funding needed to maintain the existing road system to current environmental and safety standards. The new policy is designed to help the Forest Service prioritize its road maintenance and reconstruction work so that the national forest road system will be more affordable to manage in the future.
The previous comment period, which was due to end May 2, 2000, was extended in part because of public difficulty in obtaining copies of the proposed policy and accompanying documents, and the agency's determination that a 15-day extension would not impede adoption of the final rule. The road management policy is expected to be final by Sept. 1, 2000.
Comments may be sent to: CAET, Roads Project, PO. Box 22300, Salt Lake City, UT 84122. The facsimile number is (801) 517-1021. E-mail may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To order a copy of the draft environmental assessment, which is also available for public comment, contact Heidi Valetkevitch at (202) 205-0914 or at email@example.com.