Forest Service favors reducing public input to fast-track projects

Clearcuts and dead and dying trees pepper the landscape on the Lolo National Forest in western Montana.

By Laura Lundquist

The U.S. Forest Service is creating more ways to approve logging projects without providing environmental analysis or public oversight.

A recent analysis conducted by WildEarth Guardians shows the Forest Service is bypassing much of the public process in order to push through an increasing number of large forest projects throughout the West.

“The acres are just staggering. We’re seeing millions of acres excluded from sufficient analysis,” said WildEarth Guardians Missoula spokesman Adam Rissien.

Rissien used Forest Service postings to tally all the logging and/or burning projects proposed for the past quarter – January through March – where forest managers had applied a “categorical exclusion” to avoid the public process normally required by law.

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