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Forest Service changes rule on project protests

By Associated Press
Published On: Apr 10 2013 09:42:58 AM MDT
US FOREST SERVICE
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The U.S. Forest Service has changed its rule on when a protest can be filed against projects that require an environmental analysis, such as a timber sale or a road decommissioning.
    
Previously, appeals were made after the Forest Service announced its decision on an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment.
    
As of last month, objections must be made before the final decision is issued.
    
Forest Service Region 1 objections and appeals coordinator Ray Smith says the rule was changed so different sides can sit down together and work out their issues.
    
The region covers portions of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
    
Since October, Region 1 has about 20 projects under appeal or objection. Last year, the region handled 140 such protests.