FOREST SERVICE EXTENDS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS PROPOSAL
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2006-Agriculture Under Secretary Mark Rey today announced that the public will have another month to comment on a list of forest lands that would be available for sale in a proposal to provide funding to extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS).
"There is a great deal of interest in this proposal and we want to ensure that the public has ample opportunity to provide its input," said Rey. "As we indicated from the beginning, this is a transparent process to encourage the public to provide specific information on the list of Forest Service parcels proposed for sale."
The extension gives interested individuals and groups the opportunity to provide comments until May 1, extending the original comment period which was due to close March 30. Details on the notice on requests for comments can be found in the Federal Register notice to be published on March 30, 2006.
Comments may be sent by e-mail to SRS_Land_Sales@fs.fed.us. Written comments may be sent to: USDA Forest Service, SRS Comments, Lands 4S, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop 1124, Washington, DC, 20250-0003. Send faxed comments to (202) 205-1604.
The President's fiscal year 2007 budget includes a legislative proposal to extend the SRS, which expires on Sept. 30, 2006, for an additional five years through the sale of up to 300,000 acres of Forest Service-managed land. Many parcels are considered isolated or inefficient to manage due to their location or other characteristics. The proposal, which was sent to Congress on Mar. 22, includes the opportunity for local and state government agencies and nonprofit organizations the first right to buy these parcels at market value. Visit www.fs.fed.us for a list of the proposed land.