[Federal Register: January 21, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 13)]
[Notices]               
[Page 3442-3443]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr21ja10-19]                         

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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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[[Page 3442]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Tahoe National Forest, California, Tahoe National Forest 
Motorized Travel Management Supplemental Draft EIS

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a supplemental draft environmental 
impact statement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Tahoe National Forest (TNF) will prepare a supplemental 
draft environmental impact statement to disclose the impacts associated 
with the following proposed actions:
    1. Prohibition of Cross Country Travel: The prohibition of wheeled 
motor vehicle travel off designated National Forest Transportation 
System (NFTS) roads, NFTS motorized trails, and areas by the public 
except as allowed by permit or other authorization.
    2. Additions to the NFTS: The addition of unauthorized routes as 
roads and trails to the NFTS by vehicle class and season of use.
    3. Establishment of Motorized ``Open Areas'': The establishment of 
motorized ``Open Areas'' by vehicle class and season of use.
    4. Changes to the NFTS: Changes to the NFTS including Vehicle 
Class, Season of Use and/Reopening Maintenance Level 1 roads.
    5. Amendments to the Forest Plan: The amendment of The Tahoe 
National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan to remove the 
November 1 to May 1 seasonal closure in the Sugar Pine area (Management 
Area 84 Humbug Sailor) on key winter deer range to improve motorized 
recreation opportunities.

DATES: Scoping is not required for supplemental draft environmental 
statements (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(4)). There was extensive public 
involvement in the development of the proposed action as published in 
the Federal Register April 11, 2007 and the Forest Service is not 
inviting additional comments at this time.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Arrasmith, Tahoe National 
Forest, 631 Coyote Street, Nevada City, California 95959. Phone: (530) 
478-6220. E-mail: darrasmith@fs.fed.us.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On April 11, 2007, the Forest Service published the ``Proposed 
Action and Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement'' (Federal Register Vol. 72/No. 69). The public comment 
period began on April 11, 2007, and ended May 14, 2007. Over 3,500 
comments were received.
    On October 3, 2008 the Forest Service published the ``Notice of 
Availability'' for the Tahoe National Forest Motorized Travel 
Management Draft EIS (Federal Register Vol. 73/No. 193). A two-month 
comment period was initially announced, and was expanded for an 
additional month based on public and elected official requests for a 
total of three months. The comment period ended December 26, 2008, but 
comments were accepted through December 29 due to a Presidential 
Proclamation to close the office on Friday, December 26. Over 7,000 
letters, emails, map packets and other supporting materials were 
received.
    In response to public comments received on the Draft Travel 
Management EIS (DEIS) the TNF undertook a comprehensive review of its 
existing NFTS. This review was done to respond to concerns expressed by 
the public during the comment period on the DEIS. Based on this review, 
the following corrections were made to the NFTS motorized recreation 
opportunities.

                              Summary of NFTS Mileage Before and After Corrections
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Class of vehicle                           DEIS mileage    SDEIS mileage      Change
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Roads open to highway legal vehicles only.......................           629.3           616.7           -12.6
Roads Open to all vehicles......................................         1,845.2         1,450.9          -394.3
Trails open to high clearance trail vehicles only...............           161.5           133.8           -27.7
Trails open to ATV's and motorcycles only.......................            16.8            25.5            +8.7
Trails open to motorcycles only.................................           147.6           168.8           +21.2
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................         2,800.4         2,395.7          -404.7
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Forest Supervisor reviewed this information and, based on the 
interdisciplinary team's recommendation, determined the preparation of 
a supplemental DEIS was warranted so that the public has an opportunity 
to review the proposed action and alternatives in light of the 
corrections that have been made since the DEIS was circulated. These 
corrections will be incorporated into all of the alternatives in the 
Supplemental DEIS.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose and need for this project was previously described in 
the Notice of Intent published in the Federal Register Vol. 72/No. 69/
Wednesday April 11, 2007. See the Notice of Intent for further details.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action was previously identified in the Notice of 
Intent published in the Federal Register Vol. 72/No. 69/Wednesday April 
11, 2007. See the Notice of Intent for further details.

[[Page 3443]]

Responsible Official

    Tom Quinn, Forest Supervisor, Tahoe National Forest, 631 Coyote 
Street, Nevada City, California 95959.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The responsible official will decide whether to adopt and implement 
the proposed action, an alternative to the proposed action, or take no 
action to make changes to the existing Tahoe National Forest 
Transportation System and prohibit cross country wheeled motorized 
vehicle travel by the public off the designated system.

Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review

    The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) is 
expected to be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 
to be available for public review during February 2010. EPA will 
publish a notice of availability of the SDEIS in the Federal Register. 
The comment period on the SDEIS will extend 45 days from the date the 
EPA notice appears in the Federal Register. At that time, copies of the 
SDEIS will be distributed to interested and affected agencies, 
organizations, and members of the public for their review and comment. 
It is very important that those interested in the management of the 
Tahoe National Forest participate at that time.
    The Final EIS is scheduled to be completed in June 2010. In the 
Final EIS, the Forest Service is required to respond to substantive 
comments received during the comment period that pertain to the 
environmental consequences discussed in the SDEIS and applicable laws, 
regulations, and policies considered in making the decision. 
Substantive comments are defined as ``comments within the scope of the 
proposed action, specific to the proposed action, and have a direct 
relationship to the proposed action, and include supporting reasons for 
the responsible official to consider'' (36 CFR 215.2). Submission of 
substantive comments is a prerequisite for eligibility to appeal under 
the 36 CFR part 215 regulations. The Forest Service believes, at this 
early stage, it is important to give reviewers notice of several court 
rulings related to public participation in the environmental review 
process. First, reviewers of an SDEIS must structure their 
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is 
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and 
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the 
SDEIS stage but that are not raised until after completion of the final 
environmental impact statement may be waived or dismissed by the 
courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) 
and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. 
Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, it is very important that 
those interested in this proposed action participate by the close of 
the 45-day comment period so that substantive comments and objections 
are made available to the Forest Service at a time when it can 
meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the Final 
Environmental Impact Statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the SDEIS should be as 
specific as possible. It is also helpful if comments refer to specific 
pages or chapters of the SDEIS. Comments may also address the adequacy 
of the SDEIS or the merits of the alternatives formulated and discussed 
in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer to the Council on 
Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing the procedural 
provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 40 CFR 1503.3 in 
addressing these points.
    Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who 
comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal 
and will be available for public inspection.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 
1909.15, Section 21).

    Dated: January 13, 2010.
Tom Quinn,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2010-1035 Filed 1-20-10; 8:45 am]
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