As promised we’ve been providing updates on our progress in reviewing and responding to the public comments the Forest Service received on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and draft forest plans for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. In developing responses to public comments and verifying new circumstances, we’ve been assessing what changes are necessary to the draft environmental impact statement and plans.
This has been a complex task, but we’ve made progress that has led us to several decisions.
First, the Inyo National Forest will continue to prepare responses to public comments and release a final EIS and draft record of decision. We expect to release these documents later this fall. That release will be accompanied by an objection filing period. This means the public will have 60-days to file an objection, and then the Forest Service Reviewing Officer must issue a written response to the objector(s) within 90 days of the end of the objection-filing period. The Forest Service has the discretion to extend that time if necessary to provide adequate responses or participate in discussions. For more detailed information, see 36 CFR 219.56.
Our second decision is that the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests will continue to address public comments in the refinement of the EIS and forest plans, consider changed vegetation conditions, and issue a supplemental draft EIS in early 2018. This supplemental draft EIS will have an associated public comment period as well.
These recent decisions constitute a change in the number of EISs we’ll be completing for the early adopter forests. The new total is three, including: a final EIS for the Inyo National Forest; a supplemental draft EIS for the Sierra and Sequoia National forests, followed by a final EIS for the Sequoia and Sierra.