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Kentucky Resources Council, PO Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602 Phone [502] 875-2428

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PO Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602  Phone 502.875.2428, Fax 502.875.2845

August 14, 2003: DBNF Comments  Posted: August 30, 2003

Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.

Post Office Box 1070

Frankfort, Kentucky 40602

(502) 875-2428 phone (502) 875-2845 fax

e-mail: fitzKRC@aol.com

www.kyrc.org

August 14, 2003

Daniel Boone National Forest

Content Analysis Team

P.O. Box 221150

Salt Lake City, Utah 84122 By email to danielboone@fs.fed.us

and fax to 801-517-1015

To Whom It May Concern:

These comments are submitted on behalf of the Board and membership of the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc., (KRC), a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization providing legal and technical assistance without charge to low-income individuals and communities across the Commonwealth on air, waste, water and resource extraction issues.

KRC has, for the past 20 years as the Kentucky Resources Council and before then as the Kentucky Rivers Coalition, had an abiding concern with the management priorities and direction of the Daniel Boone National Forest and the land and water resources within and affected by the forest. KRC has participated in rulemaking, project scoping and analysis, plan development and revision, land exchange proposals, and other forest-related activities.

Before turning to specific comments on the DEIS and the proposed Revised Land and Resource Management Plan, KRC expresses its appreciation to the current Forest Supervisor and staff for the advances that have been made in recent years to shift the focus of the forest planning from timber output to desired outcomes. These comments are submitted in the hope that the trend away from commodity production and towards enhancing those values and opportunities that are not readily available on private lands, from wilderness to primitive recreation, source water protection to habitat restoration to old growth forest development, will be codified and advanced in this cycle of forest planning.

KRC has read the principles for this cycle of forest planning developed by Kentucky Heartwood and endorsed by a number of other environmental and conservation organizations, and the comments of the Appalachian Citizens Law Center and of Jim Hays, and finds much merit in those comments and principles. KRC urges your careful consideration of those principles, which reflect a broad consensus of the desired goals and outcomes for the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF). The alternative advocated by those organizations should be evaluated in the development of the DEIS as an "ecological no commercial timber alternative" since the existing ecological alternative B-1 still contemplates significant commercial logging.

KRC's specific comments follow:

1. DBNF should reevaluate the scale of proposed prescribed burning, limiting the scale for research purposes, and avoiding the use of prescribed burning where private lands or homes might be affected if the fire burns out of control.

2. DBNF should suspend involvement in land exchanges. Congress has established proclamation boundaries for the forest, and DBNF should not trade away public lands within those boundaries for other lands; instead Land and Water Conservation Funds should be sought to allow for acquisition of lands deemed strategic or significant, and conservation easements and other voluntary mechanisms to augment federally-owned lands should be solicited. All too often, land exchanges have pitted aesthetic and conservation values of certain lands against DBNF interests in facilitating surveying and lowering the costs of management of the lands. The Forest should be in an acquisition mode, not swapping lands for no net gain and with no coherent strategy, within the proclamation boundaries.

3. KRC is concerned that the plan devotes too little attention to identifying areas for future "old growth" management ("FOG" areas). It is not sufficient, for purposes of development and enhancement of old growth and restoration and protection of the species dependent on unbroken blocks of old growth, that there will be areas not cut within the current cycle. Nor is it an adequate response that the plan manages for preservation and enhancement of current resident species, for though the degree of manipulation of the woodlands has all-but-eliminated resident old growth-dependent species, the enhancement of old growth blocks and corridors would allow for reestablishment of those species and would help support migratory species reliant on old growth. The final EIS should consider further active enhancement of future old growth by setting aside additional areas and providing both blocks of old growth but linkage through a corridor extending the length of the forest.

4. DBNF should eliminate use of herbicides for forest-initiated activities, and should require that right-of-way construction and maintenance through the forest utilize mechanical means rather than chemical for maintenance of rights-of-way.

While the EIS on vegetative management in the southeast forests considered the ecological impacts of pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides are all within this definition under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act), it did so on a base of scientific, ecological and human health information that is inadequate to support use of pesticides within the forest.

FIFRA requires testing for pesticides and herbicides, but requires only the testing of the "active ingredient", meaning that ingredient that is actively intended to eliminate the target "pest." The actual product formulation, which includes a number of other compounds that are used to help deliver the "active" ingredient, and may include surfactants, etc., are not tested, and in many cases may be more toxic to non-target species than the "active" ingredient.

There is no reason for DBNF to use, or to allow, chemical applications as a mechanism of control of vegetation, since mechanical means that do not raise such non-target impact concerns are readily available.

5. Buffer and transitional zones around areas unsuitable for logging should be expanded in order to allow for expansion of and less abrupt transition from the values for which those areas are being designated as off-limits to logging.

6. The Marsh Creek Wild River Study Segment is the only one of the study segments that is identified as being protected only until final action on the recommendation. The other study segments are identified as protected even if the final recommendation is against listing.

In an ideal world, politics does not play a role in the formal recognition through designation of the unique and substantial wild or scenic qualities of a stream and associated watershed lands. However, the inordinate delay in action on the part of the agency and Executive Branch in acting on the recommendation of the DBNF for designation of this and other study segments, suggests otherwise. The biological, ecological and aesthetic importance of this watershed exists apart from the vagaries of the political arena, and deserves permanent protection.

7. Mineral development on the Forest is of great concern to the Council.

Initially, DBNF should not lease any new areas, and should not renew any existing leases, allowing mineral extraction activities on DBNF-owned surface and minerals. DBNF's involvement in such leases, such as the M.A. Walker Quarry, place the agency in a situational conflict where its role as a manager of lands in the public interest is placed in potential conflict with its relationship as a lessor and recipient of royalties from leasing minerals for development. The role of lessor, where an operation causes adverse impact to public lands or to private individuals on their own lands or on forest lands or public roads, undercuts the goal of increasing public trust.

A guiding principle of the DBNF in determining how to weight the various uses under the multiple use policy, is to evaluate the extent to which those uses can be achieved on private lands. There is no dearth of recoverable limestone, sand, gravel, clay and other non-coal and coal minerals that can be developed on private lands; but in contrast, there are no private enterprises developing old growth, unfragmented forest blocks, wilderness and roadless areas, and other uses that are unique to the DBNF in this state. Mineral development, where it is within the ability of the DBNF to control, should be eliminated in favor of other uses that, unlike mineral extraction, do not consign an area to heavy industrial use and exclude, as a practical matter, all other use.

8. The DBNF should prioritize the completion of the inventory of abandoned and inactive coal mines within the DBNF for action consistent with the CERCLA decision memo from Regional Forester Estill on 9-26-01, and take appropriate enforcement action to cause PRP's to conduct remedial investigation and corrective action on all DBNF lands where mining sites (either individually or in combination) are significantly affecting a watershed by releasing pollutants of contaminants. Rock Creek and Beaver Creek watersheds are examples of areas that should be prioritized for completion of PRP searches and referral for CERCLA action.

9. For those lands where reserved or outstanding rights exist and the DBNF is obligated to allow development but may condition that development on protection of the surface, there is a pressing need to update the standard prescriptions / conditions for mineral development. Among those standard conditions that should be incorporated into all oil and gas special use permits or authorizations, are a requirement for screening of produced water, tank batteries and piping for naturally-occurring radionuclides (NORM), a requirement to remove all tank batteries, gathering lines, and to reclaim B/S pits, and to conduct clearance testing with appropriate equipment to assure no NORM contamination of equipment or soils, compensatory mitigation for any timber removal; full bonding to assure third-party completion of reclamation in the event of operator default, and a provision barring new authorizations for those with ownership or control relation to past violators.

Thank you for your consideration of these comments, and of those submitted by Kentucky Heartwood, the Cumberland Chapter of the Sierra Club, Jim Hays, and the Appalachian Citizens Law Center.

Cordially,

Tom FitzGerald

Director

Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.

Post Office Box 1070

Frankfort, Kentucky 40602

(502) 875-2428 phone (502) 875-2845 fax

e-mail: fitzKRC@aol.com

www.kyrc.org

August 14, 2003

Daniel Boone National Forest

Content Analysis Team

P.O. Box 221150

Salt Lake City, Utah 84122 By email to danielboone@fs.fed.us

and fax to 801-517-1015

To Whom It May Concern:

I neglected to include an important point in my earlier comments today concerning the draft EIS and revised Forest Plan.

Among those areas identified as Future Old Growth (FOG) is an important stand of forest near the White Oak and Sinking Creek area in Laurel County, Kentucky.

KRC strongly supports this proposed designation as future old growth, and encourages the expansion of the boundaries of that area in order to assure a viable area of old growth is established representing that species mix.

Cordially,

Tom FitzGerald

Director

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