FSH 2709.11 Chapter 80 Vegetation Management #ORMS-2718

Commenting on This Project

The Forest Service will publish a proposed directive that adds a chapter to the agency’s Special Uses Handbook for guidance on vegetation management, routine maintenance and inspections of electric transmission and distribution lines (powerline facilities) within and adjacent to their authorized rights of way on National Forest System lands. The new policy will direct Agency personnel on collaborating with electric utilities to develop comprehensive operating plans or operating agreements that cover all system reliability and fire mitigation activities and ensure minimum impacts to natural resources. The directive implements Section 512 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act as amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. Under authority of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Forest Service issues authorizations to electric utilities to construct and operate powerline facilities for the transmission and distribution of electricity. Section 211 of the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act amended the Federal Land Policy and Management Act to provide direction on the development of operating plans and agreements, outlining procedures for review and approval of vegetation management, facility inspection, and operation and maintenance activities for powerlines facilities. The provisions provide for coordination between the Forest Service and electric utilities to expedite review and approval of activities that will help to ensure reliable delivery of electricity and reduction of wildfire threats associated with powerline facility operations. The Appropriations Act directed the Forest Service to publish regulations and directions that would specifically address how the Agency would implement provisions the law for operating plans and agreements. The Agency published final regulations in July 2020. The proposed update to Forest Service Hand 2709.11, Chapter 80 is the Agency’s direction implementing the Appropriations Act.

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