[Federal Register: August 13, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 157)]
[Notices]               
[Page 47126-47127]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr13au08-32]                         

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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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[[Page 47126]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests; Arizona; Heber Wild Horse 
Territory Plan

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

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SUMMARY: The Forest Service will prepare a Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement (DEIS) to evaluate the environmental impacts of developing 
and implementing a Territory Plan for the Heber Wild Horse Territory.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by September 15, 2008. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is 
expected by May 2009 and the final Environmental Impact Statement is 
expected November 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Heber Wild Horse Territory Plan 
Analysis, c/o Deryl Jevons, Acting Forest Supervisor, P.O. Box 640, 
Springerville, AZ 85938, or send e-mail comments to comments-
southwestern-apache-sitgreaves@fs.fed.us, using the subject heading 
Heber Wild Horse Territory Plan Analysis. For further information, mail 
correspondence to Denise Van Keuren, Interdisciplinary Team Leader, 
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, P.O. Box 640, Springerville, AZ 
85938.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denise Van Keuren, Interdisciplinary 
Team Leader, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (see address above).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need for Action

    There is a need for developing a Heber Wild Horse Territory 
Management Plan, to be in compliance with the Wild Free-Roaming Horses 
and Burros Act of 1971, as amended by Federal Land Policy Management 
Act of 1976 and Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978, regulation 
at 36 CFR, part 222, subpart B, 222.21(a)(4), and the Forest Service's 
manual direction at FSM 2263.1. In addition, Item 4 of the ``In Defense 
of Animals, et al. vs. United States Forest Service, et al.'' 
Stipulation Agreement dated March 13, 2007 directs the Forest Service 
to develop a Heber Wild Horse Territory Management Strategy, in 
accordance with the provisions of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and 
Burros Act of 1971, which requires a Territory Management Plan.

Proposed Action

    Develop and implement a plan for the Heber Wild Horse Territory, 
setting parameters for determining horse numbers, when and how to 
gather horses, which horses would be authorized for the Territory, 
population and ecological monitoring. The Heber Wild Horse Territory 
and its boundaries were established in 1973 following passage of the 
Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Protection Act of 1971. The 
territory was designated as an area of about 19,700 acres used by a 
known band of horses, south of Heber, Arizona. There has not yet been a 
plan developed for the Territory.

Possible Alternatives

    The only other alternative identified at this time is No Action--do 
not develop a Territory Plan.

Responsible Official

    Deryl Jevons, Acting Forest Supervisor, Apache-Sitgreaves National 
Forests, P.O. Box 640, Springerville, AZ 85938.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decision to be made in this analysis is whether or not to 
develop a plan for the Heber Wild Horse Territory, and if so, the main 
parameters of the plan. In addition, the Responsible Official may elect 
to require certain mitigation measures to minimize environmental 
impacts.

Scoping Process

    Scoping was initiated in 2007, with a public notice and two open 
house meetings in March 2007, both in Overgaard, AZ. Planned scoping 
efforts include mailing out a scoping letter and making it available on 
the National Forest Web page for the Heber Wild Horse Territory.

Comment Requested

    This notice of intent updates the scoping process which guides the 
development of the Environmental Impact Statement. Public participation 
is important at several points during the analysis process. The first 
point is the scoping process (40 CFR 1501.7). The scoping process 
includes, but is not limited to: (1) Identifying potential issues; (2) 
identifying issues to be analyzed in depth; (3) eliminating 
insignificant issues or those that have been covered by a relevant 
previous environmental analysis; (4) exploring additional alternatives; 
and (5) identifying potential direct, indirect and cumulative 
environmental effects of the alternatives.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review: A Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be 
prepared for comment. The comment period on the Draft 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 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 Environmental Impact Statement stage but that are not raised 
until after completion of the final 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

[[Page 47127]]

and respond to them in the final Environmental Impact Statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the 
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the Draft 
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: July 30, 2008.
Deryl D. Jevons,
Acting Forest Supervisor, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
[FR Doc. E8-18663 Filed 8-12-08; 8:45 am]

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