Utah submits request to the Department of Agriculture regarding federal land maintenance

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (February 28, 2019)  – The State of Utah submitted a request to the Department of Agriculture today that the U.S. Forest Service be granted greater ability to respond to threats posed by drought, climate change, insect infestations, buildup of hazardous fuels, and other challenges in designated Roadless Areas.

Additional tools placed in the hands of the U.S. Forest Service will help alleviate the risk of unwanted wildfires, habitat degradation, and other problems that are becoming more common in Utah’s forests.

This petition is the first step in a long process to develop a Utah-specific “Roadless Rule.” If accepted by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze potential impact. During this process, members of the public and stakeholders will have numerous opportunities to provide input. The next step is a rulemaking process, also conducted through the U.S. Forest Service.

Utah’s petition asks for new rulemaking that would give local Forest Service professionals more ability to thin overgrown trees and reduce hazardous fuels when needed to promote healthy and resilient forests. The petition also asks that the Forest Service have more latitude to construct temporary administrative roads needed to perform such projects and improve forest conditions. The State’s petition does not open the door to commercial logging or the construction of new recreational roads. The petition respects the requests of counties seeking to maintain existing management practices, including requests by Salt Lake and Grand counties.

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