[Federal Register: December 15, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 241)]
[Notices]               
[Page 75998-75999]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr15de08-27]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Escalante Ranger District, Dixie National Forest; UT; Pockets 
Resource Management Forest Service, USDA

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

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SUMMARY: The USDA Forest Service announces its intent to prepare a 
supplement to the Pockets Resource Management Project (PRMP) Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). PRMP FEIS evaluated alternatives 
for vegetation management and associated road improvements within the 
Englemann spruce/subalpine fir and aspen forest types on the Escalante 
Ranger District, Dixie National Forest. The original proposed action 
and subsequent analysis disclosed in the FEIS remains unchanged. The 
purpose of this supplement is to provide additional analysis and 
disclosure on the effects of the proposed action on unroaded and 
undeveloped areas identified on a 2005 draft map produced during forest 
plan revision as part of a required inventory and evaluation of areas 
with wilderness potential. This analysis will focus on the impacts to 
the wilderness attributes of the three areas being affected by the 
proposed action.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by February 15, 2009. The draft supplement to the final environmental 
impact statement is expected in March 2009 and the final environmental 
impact statement is expected May 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Georgina Lampman, District Ranger, 
P.O. Box 246, Escalante, Utah 84726. Written comments should be 
specific and should be limited to the scope of this supplement. If you 
do not have any comments, but wish to remain on the mailing list for 
this proposal, please send a letter to the above address, or e-mail 
address listed below and request to be kept informed about the 
proposal. An e-mail comment mailbox is established for receiving 
comments electronically at: comments-intermtn-dixie-
escalante@fs.fed.us. Please use the project name (Pockets Resource 
Management Project) as the subject line in your e-mail comment message. 
Electronic comments must be submitted in a format such as an e-mail 
message, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), or Word (.doc).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mail written correspondence to 
Marianne Orton, Interdisciplinary Team Leader, Powell Ranger Station, 
P.O. Box 80, Panguitch, Utah 84759.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    On June 16, 2006 a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental 
impact statement for the Pockets Resource Management Project (PRMP) was 
published in the Federal Register. In November 2007 the Notice of 
Availability of the draft environmental impact statement for the PRMP 
was published in the Federal Register. On July 14, 2008, Robert 
MacWhorter, Dixie National Forest Supervisor, signed the Record of 
Decision for the Pockets Resource Management Project Final 
Environmental Impact Statement and the NOA was published on August 1, 
2008. Three organizations including Utah Environmental Congress, Forest 
Guardians, and Sierra Club, Utah Chapter, appealed Forest Supervisor 
Robert MacWhorter's decision stating a lack of disclosure on impacts to 
areas with wilderness potential.
    Forest Supervisor Robert MacWhorter withdrew the decision in 
October 2008 and directed the PRMP Interdisciplinary Team to prepare a 
Supplement to the FEIS that discloses the impacts to the wilderness 
potential of the Pacer Lake, Antimony, and Dry Lake areas inventoried 
during forest plan revision. The Record of Decision for the SEIS will 
be appealable under 36 CFR 215 and should only address those items 
pertinent to the disclosure of effects to the wilderness attributes of 
these areas.

Comment Requested

    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review: A draft supplement to the final environmental 
impact statement will be prepared for comment. The comment period on 
the draft supplement 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 timely 
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 supplement to the environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed supplement, comments should be as specific 
as possible. It is also helpful if comments refer to specific pages of 
the draft supplement to the statement. Comments may also address the 
adequacy of the draft supplement or the merits of the disclosure 
formulated and discussed in this supplement. Reviewers may wish to

[[Page 75999]]

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.

Responsible Official

    Robert G. MacWhorter, Forest Supervisor, Dixie National Forest, 
1789 N. Wedgewood Lane, Cedar City, Utah 84721.

    Dated: December 4, 2008.
Robert G. MacWhorter,
Forest Supervisor
[FR Doc. E8-29429 Filed 12-12-08; 8:45 am]

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