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LibbyMt.com > News > April 2012 > Draft Forest Plans comment period extended to May 7, 2012

Draft Forest Plans comment period extended to May 7, 2012
by Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests media releases
April 4, 2012

The Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests (KIPZ) are extending the end of the comment period on both Draft Plans and associated Draft EISs from April 5 to May 7, 2012. In addition, the KIPZ is giving notice that the objection process under the 2012 Planning Regulations outlined in 36 CFR 219, subpart B will be utilized. The objection process is a pre-decisional administrative review process.

The Notice of Intent to Revise the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle Forest Plans noted that the objection process outlined in 36 CFR 219.32 (the 2000 Planning Rule as reinstated in 2009) would be utilized. On March 23, the agency established a new planning rule (the 2012 Rule). The 2012 Planning Rule at 36 CFR 219.17 states "If the responsible official chooses to complete an ongoing planning process of the prior planning regulations, but chooses to allow for an objection rather than an administrative appeal, the objection process in Subpart B shall apply."

To be eligible to participate in the objection process, a person must have submitted substantive formal comments specific to the plan revision during opportunities for public comment (such as during this comment period). Comments are considered substantive when they are within the scope of the proposal, are specific to the proposal, have a direct relationship to the proposal, and include supporting reasons for the responsible official to consider (36 CFR 219.62). The objection process will be available on the plan revision before approval, which is anticipated for the fall of 2012.

Please submit your comments to the appropriate forest. Comments on the Kootenai Draft Plan and DEIS need to be sent to the Kootenai, while comments on the Idaho Panhandle Draft Plan and DEIS need to be sent to the Idaho Panhandle. If you reference another document(s) in your comments please attach a complete copy of the document(s). If complete copies are not available, please provide the cover page and applicable pages from the document. Please submit comments using one of the methods below (listed in order of preference for ease of processing and cost to the taxpayer in the content analysis process):

Email: KNFplanrevision@fs.fed.us (for Kootenai comments) or IPNFplanrevision@fs.fed.us (for Idaho Panhandle comments) using one of the following formats – directly in the body of the email, word document-preferred format (.doc or .docx), portable document format (.pdf), rich text format (.rtf), text (.txt), and hypertext markup language (.html). The sender should receive an automated electronic acknowledgement from the agency as confirmation of receipt. Only the first email from each sender will receive an email confirmation. If the sender does not receive this confirmation on the first email, it is the sender’s responsibility to ensure timely receipt by other means.

Postal mail (written comments):
For Kootenai comments:

Kootenai National Forest
Forest Plan Revision
31374 US Highway 2
Libby, MT 59923

For Idaho Panhandle comments:
Idaho Panhandle National Forest
Forest Plan Revision
3815 Schreiber Way
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815

Kootenai - 406-283-7709
Idaho Panhandle – 208-765-7307

The office business hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are 7:45 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Comments received, including names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record, and will be available for public inspection.

Once the comment period is over, we will review and analyze the comments and prepare Final Environmental Impact Statements and Final Forest Plans. We expect to have these documents completed in the fall of 2012.

If you have questions, please contact Kent Wellner (Idaho Panhandle National Forests) at 208-765-7417, Ellen Frament (Kootenai National Forest) at 406-283-7660 or Janette Turk (Kootenai National Forest at 406-283-7764. Thank you for your thoughtful review and input.

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