Project-Level Predecisional Administrative Review Process
The United States Department of Agriculture (the Department) is issuing this final rule to establish the sole process by which the public may file objections seeking predecisional administrative review for proposed projects and activities implementing land management plans and documented with a Record of Decision (ROD) or Decision Notice (DN). The final rule carries out the direction in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, section 428, which directs the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service, to apply section 105(a) of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA) to provide for a predecisional objection process. Section 428 further directs the Secretary to apply these procedures in lieu of the procedures required by the Appeal Reform Act (ARA) sections that provided for a postdecisional administrative appeal process for project decisions. This rule revises Forest Service regulations to implement the direction of section 428 and also includes predecisional administrative review procedures applicable to projects authorized pursuant to the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA).