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Forest Service Home > Projects and Policies > Objections > Related Information

Forest Service Pre-Decisional Objections - Related Information

How do Objections Work?

Many projects and activities, and most land management plan amendments and revisions, are subject to a pre-decisional administrative review process, commonly referred to as an objection process. Direction for the project-level objection process is at 36 CFR 218, and for the planning objection process is at 36 CFR 219, subpart B. Under both processes individuals and entities may file objections after an environmental analysis document is completed and before a decision document is signed. These processes build on early participation and collaboration efforts, with the intention of resolving concerns before a decision is made.

The objection process is different from the optional plan appeal procedures that are made available in certain instances after a land management plan decision has been made, and the project-level appeal process that is used for projects that are categorically excluded under NEPA from documentation in an environmental assessment and an environmental impact statement, and documented with a decision memo.

Similar to Forest Service appeal processes, responses to objections are provided by the next higher level line officer above the Forest Service official proposing to sign the project or land management plan decision.

How to Read an Objection Response
[design image] Guide showing the position and orientation of Objection Response data. The first row contains Project Name and Project Administrative Unit. The second row contains Lead Objector, Objection Rule, and Response Date and File Size (also a link to the document).


Fields 1 - 2: The first row contains the project name (Field 1) and Project Administrative Unit (Field 2). Each successive row contains the objection responses associated with this project.

Field 3: The third field contains the name of the lead objector.

Field 4: The fourth field contains the rule associated with this objection.

Field 5: The fifth field contains the response date.

Field 6: The sixth field contains a link to a PDF version of the objection document itself.


The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is our basic charter for protection of the environment. It establishes policy, sets goals, and provides means for carrying out the policy. NEPA procedures provide the direction to help public officials make decisions that are based on the understanding of environmental consequences, and take actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment. NEPA procedures also require that environmental information is available to citizens before decisions are made and actions are taken that may affect the human environment. The decision documents related to plans and projects result from compliance with NEPA.

Also see the Forest Service NEPA website and the Council on Environmental Quality's NEPAnet website.

 
Read about Proposed Actions
The Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) is published in January, April, July, and October. It contains a list of proposed actions that will soon begin or are currently undergoing environmental analysis and documentation. It provides information so that you can become aware of and indicate your interest in specific proposals before decisions are made. We encourage your early and ongoing involvement in any proposals of interest to you. Please click here to view the SOPA for a particular National Forest, Grassland, Scenic Area, Recreation Area, or Tall Grass Prairie.

 
Abbreviations and Definitions

Appeal
A request to a higher authority for review of a decision.
CE
Categorical Exclusion:
A category of actions, which generally do not individually or cumulatively have significant effect on the human environment, for which neither an Environmental Assessment nor Environmental Impact Statement is required. Additional information about a CE can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 30.
DM
Decision Memo:
A decision document for an action that has been categorically excluded from documentation in an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. Additional information about a DM can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 30.
DN
Decision Notice:
A decision document resulting from an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact. Additional information about a DN can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 40.
EA
Environmental Assessment:
A concise public document that briefly describes the environmental impacts of a proposal and alternatives, along with analysis for determining whether to prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact or an Environmental Impact statement. Additional information about an EA can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 40.
EIS
Environmental Impact Statement:
A detailed public document disclosing environmental impacts of a proposal and alternatives. Additional information about an EIS can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 20.
Objection

A written document submitted by an individual or organization seeking a pre-decisional administrative review of a proposed land management plan amendment or revision, or of a project or activity implementing a land management plan and documented with an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

Objector

An individual or organization filing an objection, who submitted comments specific to the proposed land management plan amendment or revision, or the covered project during scoping or other opportunity for public comment, as described at 36 CFR 219, Subpart B for land management plan proposals and 36 CFR 218 for project proposals.

Objection Response

The Responsible Official for the proposed land management plan or project may not issue a decision until the Reviewing Officer has responded to all pending objections. A written response will be issued within 30 days following the end of the objection-filing period for a project authorized under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA); 45 days for other projects; and 90 days for a land management plan proposal. The time for objection responses may be extended by the Reviewing Officer for projects not authorized under the HFRA and for land management plans.

Responsible Official
A Forest Service employee who has the delegated authority to make and implement a decision approving proposed land management plans or projects subject to this subpart.
Reviewing Officer
The USDA or Forest Service official having the delegated authority and responsibility to review an objection. The Reviewing Officer is the next higher level supervisor of the Responsible Official.
ROD
Record of Decision:
A decision document resulting from an Environmental Impact Statement. Additional information about a ROD can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 20.


 
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