Environmental Policy Act


In 1970 the US Forest Service created the Environmental Policy Act in order to address the impact the forest service had on the environment in national forests.  Dave Jolly, as Regional Environmental Coordinator in region 8, created many policies that complied with the act that deeply impacted the forest service.  The act itself changed the way the Forest Service implemented forest management strategies such as timber sales.  Before any decision was made foresters had to write an environmental impact statement that showed how, what they were doing would either positively or negatively impact the environment within the forests.  This created extra work for the foresters, but Jolly believes that this improved the Forest Service immensely stating “The law itself my sense was that’s its really good.  It impacted us tremendously, but our decisions were always better having done it than they would of having not done it.  Doesn’t mean we were making bad decisions, prior to the time that we the requirement became with the law, but I can’t remember a time when I felt any better about a decision because we did that.” Jolly’s job consisted mainly of dealing with lawsuits from the public that came about because of the Environmental Policy Act, and managing lands to ensure they were in compliance with the Act.  With this newly created position Jolly and other forest service workers had to invent policies as they went along, creating a system that attempted to keep disputes with the public out of the courts while at the same time adequately addressing environmental issues within the national forests.  Jolly implemented a rule that stated before any person could sue the Forest Service they must first go through an appeals system that sought to resolve issues without using the court systems.   The Act, along with rules such as the appeals system allowed for greater interaction with the public and the Forest Service, which benefited both parties.  The Environmental Policy Act created a system that needed input from both the public and Foresters forcing the national Forest Service to think about how their projects impacted the national forests.  This, Dave Jolly believes, improved the Forest Service immensely and drastically changed its policies for the good of the National Forests.