respondents requested that the comment period be extended. One of
these respondents requested an extension to 100 days after
publication of the proposed rule, until August 14, to allow the
Rainbow Family Council, which meets July 1, through 7, to submit a
Requests for Extension of the Comment Period.
The APA does not specify the number of days for a comment period for
informal rulemaking (5 U.S.C. 553(c)). The comment period for a proposed rule is often
The comment period for this rulemaking was 90 days and closed August 4, 1993,
nearly a month after the time identified for the meeting of the Rainbow Family Council.
The Forest Service received 603 comments on the proposed rule, including 12 petitions
with 20,451 signatures. The Department believes that the 90-day comment period was
sufficient to give all members of the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed
Compliance With the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Five respondents commented
that the proposed rule violates the Paperwork Reduction Act on the grounds that an
application for noncommercial group uses would take more than one to four hours to
complete; that preparation time of up to four hours for applications governed by the
rule indicates that these applications unreasonably restrict recreational use of
national forests; that it is unreasonable to spend an hour or more on something that
currently does not have to be done; and that the proposed rule would generate paperwork
The Department disagrees with these comments, which are irrelevant to
compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act.
The Paperwork Reduction Act requires
approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of any collection of information
required by an agency that affects ten or more persons (44 U.S.C. 3502(4)(A), 3507(a)).
``Collection of information'' includes obtaining information through the use of
application forms (44 U.S.C. 3502(4)(A)). An agency must estimate the time needed to
comply with the collection of information requirement (44 U.S.C. 3507(a)).
The Department has fully complied with the Paperwork Reduction Act. The information
that an applicant must provide the Forest Service in an application for a noncommercial
group use constitutes a collection of information requirement under the Paperwork
Reduction Act. The Department has obtained approval from OMB of a standard application
form that can be used for all special uses. Because of the very limited information
required in applications subject to this rule, however, the Department has developed
a special application form for noncommercial group uses. The Department has submitted
a request for approval of this form to OMB and will obtain approval of this form from
OMB before using it in conjunction with this rule.
Since this rule applies to all noncommercial group uses on National Forest System
lands, the Department has estimated the average amount of time an applicant will spend
to prepare an application. The amount of time will vary depending on the scope and
complexity of the proposed activity.
The Department believes that it has not underestimated the preparation time for an
application. Under Secs. 251.54(e)(2)(i)(A) through (e)(2)(i)(E) of the final rule,
information required from applicants for noncommercial group uses is limited to five
very basic elements;
(1) A description of the proposed activity;
(2) a description of
the National Forest System lands and any facilities the applicant would like to use;
(3) the estimated number of participants and spectators;
(4) the date and time of the
proposed activity; and
(5) the name of the person or persons who will sign a special
use authorization on behalf of the applicant.
Moreover, the application requirement is
an essential component of the special use authorization process, which in turn furthers
several significant governmental interests.
Compliance with Executive Order 12291
Listing of Comments
FS Regulation Page