2000 Legislation
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SENATE JOINT MEMORIAL NO. 105 – US Forest Servce/rule/roadless area


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SJM105.........................................by RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE - Stating findings of the Legislature and
requesting that the United States Forest Service reopen comments on its
rulemaking for protection of remaining roadless areas in the National
Forest System.
02/21    Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/22    Rpt prt - to Res/Env
03/14    Rpt out - to 10th Ord
03/15    10th ord - ADOPTED - voice vote
    Title apvd - to House
03/16    House intro - 1st rdg - to Res/Con
03/22    Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg
03/23    2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg
03/31    3rd rdg - ADOPTED - voice vote - to Senate
04/03    To enrol
04/04    Rpt enrol - Pres signed - Sp signed
04/05    To Secretary of State

Bill Text

  ||||              LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO             ||||
 Fifty-fifth Legislature                  Second Regular Session - 2000
                                       IN THE SENATE
                               SENATE JOINT MEMORIAL NO. 105
  1                                   A JOINT MEMORIAL
  6        We,  your Memorialists, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the
  7    State of Idaho assembled in the Second  Regular  Session  of  the  Fifty-fifth
  8    Idaho Legislature, do hereby respectfully represent that:
  9        WHEREAS, on October 19, 1999, the United States Forest Service announced a
 10    vast  "rulemaking  process to propose the protection of the remaining roadless
 11    areas within the  National  Forest  System."  64  FR  56306.  This  rulemaking
 12    purportedly  includes  two draft environmental impact statements, at least one
 13    set of draft rules, and a draft environmental assessment; and
 14        WHEREAS, the Notice of Intent (NOI) solicits comments "on the scope of the
 15    analysis that should be conducted" and "on the identification of  alternatives
 16    to  the proposal" that will be set out in this multitude of documents. The NOI
 17    then provides prospective commentators with slightly more than sixty  days  to
 18    comment  on this enormous and poorly defined proposal. The NOI is an unaccept-
 19    able affront to the promise of meaningful public  participation  that  is  the
 20    centerpiece of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); and
 21        WHEREAS,  more  than  forty  million  acres  of  land in the West could be
 22    affected by the actions contemplated in the NOI.  A  permanent  moratorium  on
 23    Forest  Service road development will have a devastating impact on timber com-
 24    munities in the West. The proposed moratorium will destroy attempts to develop
 25    recreational economies in the West and deny access to huge areas of  the  West
 26    to all but the able-bodied. In sum, the moratorium will deny thousands of cit-
 27    izens the opportunity to use, enjoy and benefit from the land; and
 28        WHEREAS,  the process used by the Forest Service to consider such a poten-
 29    tially severe decision must reflect absolute fairness  and  deliberation.  The
 30    NOI  demonstrates  neither  of those traits. No specific proposals are identi-
 31    fied. No preliminary findings are referenced; and
 32        WHEREAS, these failures  violate  one  of  NEPA's  primary  objectives  of
 33    encouraging and facilitating "public involvement in decisions which affect the
 34    quality of the human environment." 40 CFR 1500.2(d); and
 35        WHEREAS  the  NOI  states  that  it "initiates the scoping process." 64 FR
 36    56307. However, the NOI does not identify "the significant issues  related  to
 37    [the]  proposed action," as is required by federal regulations. 40 CFR 1501.7.
 38    The NOI does not encourage "the participation of affected federal,  state  and
 39    local  agencies"  and  the  regulations  implementing  NEPA anticipate. 40 CFR
 40    1501.7(a)(1); and
 41        WHEREAS, the ambiguity and confusion that characterize the  NOI  are  com-
 42    pounded  by  the  fact  that  the  comment  period  is  so brief. Title 40 CFR
 43    1501.8(b)(1)(i)-(viii) specifically set out  considerations  that  the  Forest
 44    Service should be using in determining the time limits for soliciting comments
  1    on the NOI.
  2        "(b)   The agency may:
  3        (1)    Consider the following factors in determining time limits:
  4             (i)    Potential for environmental harm.
  5             (ii)   Size of the proposed action.
  6             (iii)  State of the art of analytic techniques.
  7             (iv)   Degree  of  public need for the proposed action, including the
  8             consequences of delay.
  9             (v)    Number of persons and agencies affected.
 10             (vi)   Degree to which relevant information is known and if not known
 11             the time required for obtaining it.
 12             (vii)  Degree to which the action is controversial.
 13             (viii) Other time limits imposed on the agency by law, regulations or
 14             executive order."; and
 15        WHEREAS, it should be obvious that all of these factors support a careful,
 16    deliberate, consideration of the environmental impacts of the proposed  perma-
 17    nent  moratorium. The expedited deadline in the NOI is completely inconsistent
 18    with 40 CFR 1501.8(b); and
 19        WHEREAS, in an October 28, 1999, letter to forest service  managers,  Mike
 20    Dombeck, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service suggested that the Forest Service is
 21    attempting to complete the environmental analysis of a permanent moratorium in
 22    a "short time frame." The U.S. Forest Service should not be trying to ramrod a
 23    decision  that  will  shut  down  forty million acres of western lands into "a
 24    short time frame." You should be honoring the spirit, not to mention the clear
 25    mandate, of NEPA by providing meaningful opportunity for public  participation
 26    and careful, principled, environmental analysis; and
 27        WHEREAS,  the  closing  date  for public comments was set for December 20,
 28    1999. With decisions on the management of over forty million acres of land  in
 29    the  West  at  stake,  the  time is clearly not adequate time for officials to
 30    thoroughly review and analyze the proposal, and to provide the Forest  Service
 31    with informed and substantive comment.
 32        NOW,  THEREFORE,  BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the Second Regular Ses-
 33    sion of the Fifty-fifth Idaho Legislature, the Senate and the House of  Repre-
 34    sentatives concurring therein, that we respectfully request that the U.S. For-
 35    est  Service  extend the deadline to submit comments on the NOI by one hundred
 36    twenty days. An expedited consideration of this request is appreciated.
 37        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate  be,  and  she  is
 38    hereby authorized and directed to forward a copy of this Memorial to the Pres-
 39    ident  of  the  United  States, the Chief of the United States Forest Service,
 40    President of the Senate and the Speaker of the  House  of  Representatives  of
 41    Congress,  and the congressional delegation representing the State of Idaho in
 42    the Congress of the United States.

Statement of Purpose / Fiscal Impact

                 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
                       RS 09800 
          The purpose of this Memorial sends a message to the Congress of the
     United States, the President of the United States, and the Chief of the U. S. Forest
     Service objecting to the proposed 60 days comment period to comment on an
     enormous and poorly defined proposal on protection of the remaining roadless
     areas within the National Forest System. 
          The Forest Service action has been appealed by the Attorney General of
     the State of Idaho.  The legislative support of this resolution confirms drafting.
                    FISCAL IMPACT
     None beyond the cost of legislation 
                                                  Name:          Sen. Marguerite McLaughlin    332-1355
                                                  Sen. Judi Danielson      332-1308
                                                  Sen. Shawn Keough        332-1340
                                                  Rep. Charles Cuddy       334-1158
                                             Rep. June Judd      334-1134
                                                  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE             SJM 10