By Bobby Magill, Bloomberg Law —
Oil, logging, mining, and grazing will be the priorities of national forests and grasslands, with expedited environmental oversight, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the U.S. Forest Service Friday.
Perdue‘s memo announced a “blueprint for reforms” that refocuses the Forest Service to produce products and services from the 193 million acres of forests, grasslands and wilderness areas it oversees.
He directed the agency to find new ways to produce energy on national forest land, promote “active management” to support rural communities, and expedite broadband development to provide internet service to rural areas.
Environmental groups on Friday accused Perdue of attempting to fast-track development of national forests that have long been managed for conservation and multiple uses.
Many national forests border national parks and contain wilderness areas that are protected from all forms of development. The largest national forest, Alaska’s Tongass, is the hemisphere’s largest coastal temperate rain forest. The Forest Service has targeted it for new logging projects.