For any who stumble into this blog, I wanted to let you know that the US Forest Service has been working since November 2005 to find better ways to make Environmental Management Systems work for the agency, both in the "facilities" and the "planning" realms.
Most of this work is being done by committees, and done in conventional ways via in-person meetings, conference calls, Lotus Notes Teamrooms, and email flurries. So unless you are in-the-loop, there is little you can do or know about progress on the EMS betterment. So we will wait and see what emerges.
To muddy the waters a bit more, last Friday a Federal Court Judge ruled that the US Department of Agriculture erred in setting in play the 2005 Forest Planning Rule that brought EMS into the planning realm. Here is a recent Forest Policy – Forest Practice post on the ruling. For now, the 2005 Planning Rule has been set-aside, calling into question at least the legal mandate for EMS as identified in the Rule.
[Update March 2010] THIS BLOG NOW CLOSED!
Sometime in 2008 or 2009 the Forest Service retreated, finally, to a position where EMS is used only for "facilities" and other matters where many of us thought EMS ought to have been from the get-go. The whole mistaken notion that EMS might have a much more substantial role in legal, planning, and other framing for the Forest Service has been abandoned. For me, EMS was a huge distraction, on top of the "mission","planning", and "science" challenges that I continue to discuss here, here, and most recently here.