Proposed Revisions to NEPA
Comments Requested by Feb. 2

This Notice was forwarded by the Coalition for Outdoor Access

On January 3, 2018, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on National Environmental Policy Act Compliance. The attached ANPRM is a document published before the development and publication of proposed rule language in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). An ANPRM essentially invites the public to tell the agency what it would like to see included in the proposed rule.

The USFS ANPRM states that USFS “is proposing to revise its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures with the goal of increasing efficiency of environmental analysis.” The ANPRM seeks comments from the public on how to do so while continuing to honor its environmental stewardship responsibilities and maintaining robust public participation.

The more detailed goals for this review are to make it possible “to complete project decisions in a timelier manner, to improve or eliminate inefficient processes and steps, and where appropriate increase the scale of analysis and the amount of activities authorized in a single analysis and decision.” The agency is specifically seeking comments on the following:

  1. Processes and analysis requirements that can be modified, reduced or eliminated;
  2. Approaches to landscape-scale analysis and decisionmaking that aid in restoration work.
  3. Classes of activities such as outfitter-guide permits that could be covered by categorical exclusions because they are unlikely to have significant environmental impacts.
  4. Increasing coordination with other federal, state and tribal agencies.

The Coalition for Outdoor Access Policy Committee will be meeting at the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in Denver this week to discuss COA’s position on and recommendations for the ANPRM.

Our partners at the USFS have requested we share this with our stakeholder’s for input. In addition, to the policy recommendations provided by COA, we urge our stakeholders to provide comment as well. This is a considerable opportunity to provide input on how you would like to see business being done with regards to NEPA process and compliance. For guidance on what the agency is specifically seeking comments on, please refer to four point list above.

The deadline for comments is February 2, 2018, and reply comments are due on or before February 20, 2018