Monday, October 15, 2007

White Mountains Forest Land Development

File this under “Progress”, but you can add a question mark—“Progress?” depending on whether you think developing forest lands is a good idea.

The U.S. Forest Service is starting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Black River Exchange in response to a March federal court order.

The Greer Coalition Inc. and the Center for Biological Diversity had filed suit against the Forest Service's decision in October 2005 which stated that the proposed exchange could proceed.
      The court remanded to the agency its decision authorizing the exchange.
      The proposal would exchange 337.74 acres of National Forest north of Greer with 396.35 acres of private lands located on the Black River and Blue rivers. The court directed the Forest Service to address and evaluate the environmental impact of the proposed exchange should the selected federal land be developed using multiple shallow water wells.
      A new appraisal of land values will also be prepared.
      The draft EIS is scheduled for availability in February, and the final EIS is anticipated for July.
      The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests supervisor invites the public to submit comments on the proposal and offer suggestions on the scope of the proposed exchange.
      For more information or to comment on this proposal contact Bruce Buttrey at the Springerville Ranger District (928) 333-4372.
      More information on the proposal is available at the forests' Web page: