WASHINGTON, March 23, 2012 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final Planning Rule for America’s 193-million acre National Forest System that includes stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities.
This final rule – which follows USDA’s Feb. 3 publication of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement – replaces the 1982 rule procedures currently in use, and provides a new framework to be used for all individual management plans for 155 national forests and grasslands across the country. Over half of Forest Service units are currently operating with plans that are more than 15 years old.
“This new rule provides the framework we need to restore and manage our forests and watersheds while getting work done on the ground and providing jobs,” said Vilsack. “The collaboration that drove this rulemaking effort exemplifies the America’s Great Outdoors initiative to foster conservation that is designed by and accomplished in partnership with the American people.”
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