FSM 2740 Vegetation Management Pilot Projects #ORMS-2717

Commenting on This Project

The Forest Service will publish a proposed directive to update the agency’s special uses administration manual to enhance the reliability of the electric grid and reduce the threat of wildfire due to vegetation-related conditions adjacent to electric transmission and distribution line (powerline facility) rights-of-way. The changes will establish guidance for allowing electric utilities to conduct voluntary vegetation management in areas up to 200 feet (150 feet on either side) from a powerline facility right-of-way. The directive is designed to implement section 8630 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill). Section 8630 of the 2018 Farm Bill gives the Forest Service discretion to issue permits for conducting vegetation management pilot projects under lower liability standards to holders of an authorization for a powerline facility or natural gas pipeline on NFS lands that are not covered by the special use authorization for the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline. Pilot projects must be conducted outside the linear right-of-way for the associated powerline facility or natural gas pipeline; may not extend more than 150 feet from either side of the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline; and may not have a total width of more than 200 feet including both sides of the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline. In addition, pilot projects may not overlap with vegetation management conducted under the special use authorization for the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline, including removal and pruning of hazard trees outside the linear right-of-way for a powerline facility. The liability provisions in a special use permit for a pilot project have no effect on the liability provisions in the special use authorization for the powerline facility or natural gas pipeline, including the liability provisions that apply to removal and pruning of hazard trees inside and outside the linear right-of-way. The new manual requires the addition of clauses to Handbook Chapter 50 to be used in permit forms that legally authorize pilot projects on National Forest System lands.

The Forest Service values public participation. Communications from the public regarding this project, including commenters' names and contact information, will become part of the public record. Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be able to be given full consideration.

 

Submitting Comments

If you wish to submit a comment, please send it to:

Reginal Woodruff
Washington Office (National Headquarter)
rwoodruff@fs.fed.us