USFS Seeks Comments On Its Proposed Process For Amending Its Manual and Handbook

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The US Forest Service recently issued a notice seeking comments from the public on its process for seeking public input on proposed directives.  Directives are internal agency guidance and are typically set out as part of the Forest Service Manual or Forest Service Handbook.  The agency must seek and take into consideration public comment on proposed directives in two cases.  The first case is if the proposed directive has been designated by the Office of Management and Budget as being “a significant guidance document.”  The second case is if the proposed directive sets out standards, criteria or guidelines applicable to Forest Service programs.  Under the process, a notice of the proposed directive will be issued in the Federal Register and a period will be provided for public comment.  While internal guidance set out in the Forest Service Manual and Handbook is not necessarily legally binding on the agency, the fact that a directive was issued pursuant to public comment may result in that particular directive being legally binding on the agency.  Comments on the proposed process are due by March 16, 2020.  For information on how to locate relevant directives in the Forest Service Manual and Handbook, see the video on our website.

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