Here’s the link…
Below are a couple of excerpts..
The federal government is opposing an environmental group’s request for nearly $1.4 million in attorney fees stemming from a lawsuit over grazing in eastern Oregon.
The request is “prodigious” and “excessive” because the environmentalists have exaggerated their victories and inflated the amount of time they spent on the lawsuit, according to the government.
The Oregon Natural Desert Association challenged cattle grazing in the Malheur National Forest, claiming the practice was harming threatened steelhead.
Last year, ONDA reached a settlement with the U.S. Forest Service in which the agency admitted the group won several points of law during nearly a decade of litigation.
The group is now seeking about $1.4 million in compensation under federal laws that allow plaintiffs to recover their costs when they succeed in certain types of lawsuits against the government.
Maybe someone who understands this can help…
OK, so I get why their expenses are involved, but how does “exaggerating their victories” affect the taxpayer bottom line? Is it that if they win 1 of 3 counts, they get 1/3 of their expenses paid?
According to a litigation expert with the Forest Service, ONDA also wants to bill the government at premium rates for “work that does not require specific environmental expertise,” like scheduling.
For example, Becker seeks $315-$350 per hour for duties for which attorneys usually receive about $170-$185 per hour under federal law, the government said.
A Capital Press call seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Ranchers who were involved in the litigation have already settled their claims for attorney fees with the government. Last year, the government agreed to pay the ranchers $120,000 in attorney fees and costs.
A judge agreed that the federal government should have included them in the consultation process that determined how grazing affected protected species.
Again, there must be a story as to why the grazing folks were left out of the consultation process. I’m sure some random FS person didn’t wake up one morning and say, “hey, I know we should include them, but let’s leave them out!”