[Federal Register: February 2, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 22)]
[Notices]               
[Page 4999-5000]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr02fe07-19]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Plumas National Forest; Plumas County, CA; Empire Vegetation 
Management Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a supplement to the environmental 
impact statement.

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SUMMARY: The Forest Service will prepare a supplement to the Empire 
Vegetation Management Project Final Environmental Impact Statement. 
This supplement will replace the 2006 supplement. This supplement will 
clarify Management Indicator Species and soil and watershed effects. In 
addition, the supplement will take into account field data and 
information gathered since 2005. It will also incorporate information 
presented in the 2006 supplement and the 2005 Final Environmental 
Impact Statement.

DATES: Scoping is not required for supplements to environmental impact 
statements (40 CFR 1502.9(c)4(4)). The draft supplemental environmental 
impact statement is expected to be issued in February 2007 and the 
final supplemental environmental impact statement is expected in May 
2007.

ADDRESSES: Plumas National Forest, 159 Lawrence Street, P.O. Box 11500, 
Quincy, CA 95971; Mount Hough Ranger District, 39696 Highway 70, 
Quincy, CA 95971.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Rotta, Interdisciplinary Team 
Leader, Mt. Hough Ranger District 39696 Highway 70, Quincy, CA 95971 
(530) 283-7687.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The first notice of intent for this project 
was published in the Federal Register on February 9, 2005. The Notice 
of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was 
published on May 20, 2005. A Final Environmental Impact Statement (2005 
FEIS) and Record of Decision were issued on August 9, 2005. The 
decision was appealed and later reversed on November 18, 2005.
    At the request of the Forest Supervisor, the Federal Register 
published a Notice of Intent on December 28, 2005 to prepare a 
supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement. The Federal 
Register published a Notice of Availability of a Draft Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement on February 24, 2006. A Final 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision were 
issued in August 2006. The project was appealed again and the Forest 
Supervisor withdrew his August 2006 Record of Decision.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose and need remain the same as was described in the 2005 
FEIS. The purpose of and need for the project has three elements: (1) 
To implement fuel reduction in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and, 
as part of the larger HFQLG fuel treatment strategic network as called 
for by the HFQLG Act (Section 401[b][1] and [d][1] and HFQLG amendment 
to the LRMP, to reduce the potential size and intensity of wildfires 
and provide fire suppression personnel safe locations for taking action 
against wildfires; (2) to implement group selection and individual tree 
selection, as directed in the HFQLG Act (Section 401[b][1] and [d][2]) 
and the HFQLG amendment to the LRMP, to test the effectiveness of an 
uneven-aged silvicultural system in achieving an all-aged, multistory, 
fire resilient forest, providing an adequate timber supply that 
contributes to the economic stability of rural communities, and 
improving and maintaining ecological health of the forest; and (3) to 
reduce impacts of the transportation system on forest resources and 
provide the necessary access for the fuel treatments and the group and 
individual tree selection harvests.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action will remain the same as described in the 2005 
FEIS.

Possible Alternatives

    Alternatives include varied levels of fuel treatments, group 
selection timber harvest, individual tree selection harvest and 
transportation system improvement.

Responsible Official

    Jim Pe[ntilde]a, Forest Supervisor, Plumas National Forest, PO Box 
11500, Quincy, CA 95971.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The responsible official will decide whether to implement the 
proposed action, an alternative to the proposed action, or not to 
implement the project at this time.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review: A draft supplemental environmental impact 
statement will be prepared for comment. The comment period on the draft 
supplemental environmental impact statement will be 45 days from the 
date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the notice of 
availability in the Federal Register.
     The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important 
to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public 
participation in the environmental review process.
     First, reviewers of draft supplemental environmental impact 
statements must structure their participation in the environmental 
review of the proposal so that it is meaningful and alerts an agency to 
the reviewer's position and contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power 
Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 553 (1978). Also, environmental objections 
that could be raised at the draft supplemental environmental impact 
statement stage but that are not raised until after completion of the 
final supplemental environmental impact statement may be waived or 
dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 1016, 1022 
(9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 F. Supp. 
1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, it is very 
important that those interested in this proposed action participate by 
the close of the 45-day comment period so that substantive comments and 
objections are made available to the Forest Service at a time when it 
can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the final 
supplemental environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft supplemental 
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages of the draft 
supplement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft 
supplemental

[[Page 5000]]

environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives 
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer 
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing 
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.
    Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who 
comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal 
and will be available for public inspection.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 
1909.15, Section 21)

    Dated: January 26, 2007.
Elizabeth A. Taylor,
Acting Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 07-458 Filed 2-1-07; 8:45 am]

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