Mineral Resources:

Forest Service Has a Limited but Influential Role

RCED-86-157: Published: Aug 18, 1986. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO: (1) reviewed the Forest Service's role in the management of federal minerals; and (2) determined if an effective management relationship exists between the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

GAO found that: (1) the Forest Service's role in federal minerals management is to protect surface resources while mineral exploration and development takes place on its lands; (2) most environmental groups believe that the Forest Service's actions in carrying out its role are reasonable; and (3) one environmental group and some mineral industry groups criticized the Forest Service for insensitivity to environmental concerns and poor management of mineral development. GAO also found that: (1) in the cases it reviewed, the Forest Service's minerals management decisions were based on professional analysis that balanced the competing demands of surface protection with mineral development; and (2) the current minerals management relationship between BLM and the Forest Service is generally effective.

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