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Vilsack to Delay Special Forest Products and Forest Botanical Products Final Rule


WASHINGTON.- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced the delay of implementing the Sale and Disposal of Special Forest Products and Forest Botanical Products Final Rule until March 30, 2009. The delay will provide the public an additional 30-day comment period ending March 2.

“In keeping with President Obama’s recent pledge for a more transparent and inclusive government that works for the people, this extension will afford the public an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process,” he said. “This rule is especially important to American Indians and Alaska Natives and we want to make sure that they, and other stakeholders, have an opportunity to have their voices heard.”

The rule establishes regulations for the sustainable free use, commercial harvest and sale of special forest products and forest botanical products from National Forest Service lands.

“The Forest Service is committed to our responsibilities to our tribal partners and the sustainability of our nation’s forests and grasslands,” said Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell. “With that in mind, we are looking forward to additional comment on the rule.”

Special forest products include, but are not limited to, firewood, post and poles, wildflowers, mushrooms, grasses, seeds, nuts, cones, berries and Christmas trees. Forest botanical products are naturally occurring special forest products but generally do not include trees or portions of trees.

The notice to postpone implementation of the rule and extend the comment period will be published in the Jan. 29, 2009 Federal Register. Comments submitted should address issues and concerns on the policy raised in the rule published on Dec. 29, 2008.


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