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Public Gets 4 More Months For Basin Plan Comments

Associated Press

The public comment period on the draft environmental analyses of the expansive Interior Columbia River Basin Ecosystem Management Plan has been extended 120 days.

Two draft environmental impact statements address the management of more than 72 million acres of land by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the interior Columbia, Klamath and Great basins.

The deadline for public comment was Oct. 6, but that has been extended to Feb. 6, 1998.

“We want to provide a reasonable opportunity and quality time for the public to read, comprehend and comment on one or both of the two DEISs,” said Martha Hahn, Idaho BLM director. “We have tried to give people as long as possible to comment, and still keep project costs down.”

Many of the requests for more time have cited the length and complexity of the Eastside and Upper Columbia documents.

“We sincerely want to hear how we can improve the management strategy between the draft and final EISs,” said Bob Williams, forester for the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service.

The four-year project studied a range of issues, such as the declining Snake River salmon runs, forest health and changing economies. It ultimately will have a big effect on logging, grazing and other activities on federal ground.

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