[Federal Register: October 15, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 200)]
[Page 61017-61018]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

                                                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.


[[Page 61017]]


Forest Service

McKelvie Geographic Area Rangeland Allotment Management Plans on 
National Forest System Lands on the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest, 
Bessey Ranger District in Nebraska

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Second revised notice of intent to prepare an environmental 
impact statement.


SUMMARY: This project would revise Rangeland Allotment Management Plans 
(RAMP) for all allotments within the McKelvie Geographic Area on the 
McKelvie National Forest and analyze continuation of grazing within the 
constraints of the Revised Nebraska Land and Resource Management Plan 
(NLRMP). A Notice of Intent (NOI) for this project was published May 
15, 2006 (71 No. 93 FR 27986). More than six months have elapsed since 
the projected draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) date in that 
original NOI. This revised NOI is being issued to update the project 

DATES: Comments will be accepted concerning the scope of the analysis 
and must be received within 30 days after publication of this NOI in 
the Federal Register. The Notice of Availability of the DEIS is 
expected to be published in the Federal Register approximately March 

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Michael E. Croxen, 
Interdisciplinary Team Leader, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 39, 
Halsey, Nebraska 69142.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael E. Croxen, Interdisciplinary 
Team Leader, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 39, Halsey, Nebraska 69142. 
Phone (308) 533-2257.

    Purpose and Need for Action: The purpose of the environmental 
impact statement is to determine current conditions, analyze 
environmental consequences of actions to those conditions, and assist 
the decision maker in selecting management/monitoring strategies 
consistent with meeting desired conditions in the NLRMP. The need for 
the action is to ensure that authorized uses and associated management 
activities move towards or maintaining desired NLRMP conditions.
    Proposed Action: The Bessey Ranger District proposes to implement 
best management practices and activities with adaptive management and 
monitoring strategies to ensure compliance between current conditions 
and NLRMP desired conditions on the McKelvie Geographic Area.
    Other Possible Alternatives: Other possible alternatives that would 
be considered for analysis include a No-Action Alternative (to not 
change current permitted uses) and a No-Grazing Alternative (to 
eliminate any grazing on the project area).
    Issues: What grazing strategies will maintain or move desired 
conditions toward NLRMP goals and objectives, and how will these 
grazing strategies impact permitted livestock grazers (permittees)?
    Responsible Official: Patricia D. Barney, District Ranger, Bessey 
Ranger District, P.O. Box 39, Halsey, Nebraska 69142.
    Nature of Decision To Be Made: The decision to be made is whether 
or not to continue permitted uses within the McKelvie Geographic Area. 
If uses are permitted, then adaptive management strategies and 
monitoring will be identified to ensure compliance with desired NLRMP 
    Public Scoping Process: Comments and input regarding this proposal 
were requested from the public, other groups and agencies via direct 
mailing on May 19, 2006. Additional comments were solicited during a 
public open house June 6, 2006 held in Valentine, Nebraska. With this 
revised NOI, comments will be accepted again 30 days from the 
publication date of this notice in the Federal Register.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review: The DEIS is expected to be filed with the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the EPA will publish a notice 
of availability for the DEIS in the Federal Register. The DEIS is 
scheduled to be available for public review and comment by 
approximately March 2009. The comment period on the DEIS will be 45 
days from the date the EPA 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, the 
reviewers of the draft EIS 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 EIS stage 
but that are not raised until after completion of the final EIS 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 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 environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft EIS should 
be as specific as possible. It is also helpful if comments refer to 
specific pages or chapters of the draft EIS. 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 regarding the specificity of comments.
    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)

[[Page 61018]]

    Dated: September 30, 2008.
Patti Barney,
 District Ranger, Bessey Ranger District, Nebraska National Forest.
[FR Doc. E8-24408 Filed 10-14-08; 8:45 am]