Public Comments, Survey and Manage Draft SEIS
The 90-day public comment period for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Amendment to Survey and Manage, Protection Buffer, and Other Mitigating Measures Standards and Guidelines closed on Friday March 3, 2000.
A total of about 3700 comments was received before the close of the comment period, in the form of letters, postcards, and e-mails. Many substantive and thoughtful comments were received. Approximately 2,400, or 63% of the comments were form letters (i.e., duplicated letters of a standard format). There were five different form letters received, ranging from 24 to 860 copies of each.
The comments have been processed into approximately 600 "public-concern statements". These are summary statements that identify and describe specific concerns. Concern statements were derived from similar concerns voiced in multiple letters, as well as concerns unique to a single letter. Comments have been reviewed and the Agencies are considering revisions to the Final SEIS. Written responses to the public-concern statements will appear in the Final SEIS, planned for publication in May 2000.
Letters were received from a variety of interests, including scientists, individuals, organizations, businesses, industry, Advisory Committees, Federal and State Agencies, Tribal governments, and elected officials.
Many letters were received supporting the addition of a "No Harvest of Old Growth"Alternative to the SEIS. Undersecretary of Agriculture Jim Lyons, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service responded in an AP interview: "The problem is that issue is a different issue and is outside the scope of what we are trying to do here." The SEIS is limited in scope, seeking only to amend certain mitigation measures to the Northwest Forest Plan, not re-visit all facets of the decision made in the April 1994, Record of Decision for the Plan. Because it is outside the scope of the SEIS, a "No Harvest of Old Growth"Alternative has been considered, but not included for analysis in the Final SEIS.
COMMENTS AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING
All comments received during the public comment period will be available for viewing by the public at the Bureau of Land Management Oregon State Office, 1515 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, Oregon. The documents are available in the Land Office, 7th floor, from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm from Monday through Friday, beginning April 14, 2000, until the Record of Decision (ROD) on the SEIS is issued, expected in late June 2000. For additional information, call (503) 952-6001.
FINAL SEIS AVAILABLE IN A VARIETY OF FORMATS
Postpaid business-reply postcards were mailed on April 11 to all who commented on the Draft SEIS. The postcard will give respondents an opportunity to decline a mailing of the Final SEIS or select a summary (about 45 pages), a full Final SEIS in book form (approximately 550 pages), or a full document on compact disc (.pdf format). The Final SEIS will be published on the Bureau of Land Management Oregon State Office Home Page as well (http://www.blm.gov/or/plans/nwfpnepa).
The FSEIS is expected to be available in late May 2000; the ROD on the FSEIS is expected in Late June 2000.