Santa Fe County Commission resolution about Santa Fe National Forest fuel treatment projects

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), often described as the United States’ Magna Carta for the environment, helps public officials make decisions with a thorough understanding of the environmental consequences before actions are taken, and citizen participation in those decisions as much as possible; And

NEPA requires an analysis of the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the SFMRP on a variety of resources, including the risk of intentional burning on national forest lands bordering private property and impacts on air quality and public health, including threatened and endangered species. Roadless areas, water quality, soil, vegetation and wildlife are researched and

In the year On May 10, 2022, the USFS Chief (Chief) requested a review of the Hermit Peak Fire (Chief Review), Santa Fe National Forest; And

The Hermit Peak/Calf Canyon Fire has destroyed at least 400 homes, forced the evacuation of up to 18,000 people, cost more than $248 million in firefighting costs, and burned more than 341,000 acres. And

The Chief Review found that extreme drought and climate disruption are creating unexpected challenges to planning and executing intentional fires. And

The USFS is similarly threatening Santa Fe County with thousands of acres of intentional fires per year, adjacent to densely populated areas, without significant changes in their (mis)methods, staffing, and climate change strategies, and

The Chief Review or other USFS communications, analyzes or strategies on the SFNF specifically re-evaluate the feasibility of SFNF projects and forest treatments and accelerating climate change; And

The growth of grasses and other fine fuels following fuel reduction activities, along with debris generated by fireline construction, contributes to increased fire risk. And

Unacceptable risks are taken by arsonists who are under pressure to “accomplish the mission.” And

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is appropriate because the EA for the SFMLRP did not show a significant impact on the remaining resources due to deliberate burning and increased pressure to meet targets due to management and bureaucratic pressure; And

Although the issue was raised in public comments, the risks and impacts of missed intentional burning for the SFMLRP or other SFNF projects were not addressed in the EA.

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