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Feds delay road plan impact statement

ELKO — The U.S. Forest Service has announced a delay in the environmental review process for a management plan for national forest roads in northeastern Nevada.

Agency officials told Elko County commissioners on Thursday that the draft environmental impact statement for the plan won’t be released until April or May. The draft was originally scheduled to be released next month, with a final plan released in May or June.

Forest Service officials said the final statement won’t be released until the fall because of a lack of resources and staff.

Elko County commissioners have tried to find a way to block the plan, which will designate which roads will be open and which will be closed.

The plan will cover roads on more than 1 million acres in the northern and eastern parts of the 6 million-acre Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which covers much of Nevada and a portion of the Sierra in California.

Tom Montoya, ranger for the Mountain City District, said once the process is over, Forest Service policy requires signs to be placed on roads that will be open. If roads aren’t marked, they’re closed, he said.

Gar Abbas, ranger for the Jarbidge and Ruby Mountains District, said the agency will post signs on closed roads if there’s confusion.

Commission Chairman Charlie Myers said Nevada law requires that closed roads be marked, contrary to the Forest Service’s policy.

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