I don’t know if this has been discussed, it was filed a year ago so maybe I’m just late to the party. It’s certainly an aggressive litigation effort that’s definitely not from one of the “usual suspects”. Here’s the link, the first place I saw it was on CBD’s website so here it is, I’m sure it’s available elsewhere too if you don’t want to patronize their site:
A few enviro groups have joined in on the USFS side as defendant-intervenors (something about politics makes strange bedfellows…?)
I haven’t yet waded through all the relevant documents. But basically, the FFRC et al (a consortium of forest industry groups) is very unhappy with several provisions of the 2012 Planning Rule, as I read it they believe that:
1) They believe that the Planning Rule, 36 C.F.R. §219.8(a), creates an unprecedented new requirement that every forest plan “must provide for social, economic, and ecological sustainability.” (in other words, they don’t like that “sustainability” language)
2) They claim that the Rule violates MUSYA by unlawfully mandating extra-statutory “ecosystem services”, in addition to the five statutorily-designated purposes of national forests. They say that providing “ecosystem services” is not a permitted purpose of national forest management under MUSYA. As I understand it, they feel that these goods and services are traditionally viewed as free benefits to society, or “public goods” – wildlife habitat and diversity, watershed services, carbon storage, and scenic landscapes, for example.
3) A big one: They claim a violation of NFMA by unlawful mandate to maintain viable populations of plant and animal species of conservation concern before meeting multiple use objectives.
4) Another big one: they claim the Planning Rule unlawfully limits decision-making information by requiring decision-makers to “use the best available scientific information for every forest management decision.” This one sounds kind of goofy at first glance, I think their (debatable) point is that scientific information shouldn’t be allowed to trump “commercial information” (I’m a little vague on what that is, exactly).
Anyway, thought I’d post this, it seems to fit into previous discussion on the “greatest good” in forest planning. The case is still going on (well, probably on hold right now for fed shutdown), they still hadn’t finalized the full briefing schedule as of a couple weeks ago.