Why the Problem Persists
The U.S. Forest Service task differs markedly from that encountered when the agency was established at the turn of the twentieth century and the mineral leasing laws were enacted in 1920. Professionally trained foresters now have resource-allocation responsibilities that defy their technical expertise and that are more overt than at any time in the past. These foresters are charged with meeting many contradictory objectives. Their decisions must be made in the face of uncertainty about potential outcomes. They are required to make decisions in “the public interest” yet no single public interest exists. Although the decision-making process is designed to make scientifically defensible decisions, the decisions to be made are inherently subjective; objectively correct answers simply do not exist.
KeywordsPublic Interest Public Land National Forest Public Involvement Administrative Agency
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