Equal Access to Justice Act often aids those who frustrate forest restoration

“in most Western legal systems other than the United States, the prevailing norm is the English rule. The “English Rule for Attorney’s fees” is also known as “Loser Pays” which is contrasted to the “American Rule” where each party to the suit is responsible for it’s own fees. I’m not really interested in discussing the pros and cons of the two contrasting approaches to settling legal disputes. Inevitably such discussions end up in a fierce political fight about as desperate as a discussion of the existence of God between people on opposite sides of the fence.

What is interesting is that the article referred to in the title for this discussion thread points out that the 1980 Equal Access to Justice Act, or EAJA follows the English Rule if a small claimant or any non-profit claimant wins a case against the federal government but follows the American Rule if the claimant looses. This may not be news to many here but the article provides some interesting insights including:

1) “The act was passed in 1980 to help veterans with disabilities pursue claims against the federal government”

2) “Over the last five years the payments for legal challenges to the Forest Service have nearly doubled, costing the taxpayer over $38 million in 2015. EAJA is not benefiting average citizens as Congress had intended. Thirty-three-hundred lawsuits were filed by just 12 special interest groups from 2001 to 2011. During this time $37 million was awarded to special interest groups, including awards of attorney fees of $500-750 per hour, according to research by Wyoming attorney Karen Budd-Falen.” If I read that right the payments are rising exponentially with $37million paid out from 2001 through 2011 while 2015 alone cost $38million.

3) “No one counts the cost of jobs lost and families displaced after mills are forced to close due to lack of resources. Unfortunately, those folks do not have the same equal access to justice as these highly funded and financially motivated activist organizations.” I assume that the author is referring to the affected individuals not having the same access to the necessary up front money required to go to court on such a big issue as do the highly funded and financially motivated activist organizations.

4) “these EAJA payments come out of your Social Security Trust Fund”

22 Comments

  1. The logical absurdity of using this arcane legal basis of argumentation rhetorically high-centered on the difference between “English vs. American” rules as to “who pays” — i.e. unfairly distributing the costs of injustice to the victims as well as perpetrators (!) vs the losers as perpetrators of injustice bearing the costs, constitutes a classic straw man argument. It blindly avoids the more painfully obvious elements of the issue:

    1) Veterans such as myself (disabled or otherwise) constitute representatives of “We the People” — citizens who put their lives on the line in times of war to defend our nation and having taken an oath: “I, … do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

    We did this, not for just veterans, but for all present and future generations of citizens. We hold dear the notion we defended a basis of government: “Of the People, for the People and by the People.” To suggest EAJA provides protections for only this arbitrary class of citizenry is an affront to the principles and oaths we were defending. Apparently, our judiciary found this basis of jurisprudence to also be true despite your and others’ frequent remonstrations.

    So really, is not your argument really founded in a distaste for the basis of constitutional republics and the concept of separation of powers?

    Elected public officials such as myself also take an oath to defend the constitution — the supreme law of the land.. again,founded upon a government, “Of the People, for the People and by the People.”

    So when a federal agency operates under a persistent state of corporate capture (there are many, but in this case… such as the USFS), routinely ignores the consequences of its Decisions which by your own measure are regarded as legally unjustifiable by the Judiciary branch of government, the victims (and funders) of a captured agency should rightly be protected from the Decisions of the captured agencies which harm and run afoul of laws and the taxpaying citizens.

    Regardless, this is legally based upon our current premise of governance known as a “constitutional republic” which employs a time-worn and essential construct known as “separation of powers.” The concept of separation of powers is all we currently have in what (nominally) separates Americans from being vassals of corporate states and its well-monied plutocrats. (Donald Trump and his corporate administration comes to mind.) DT, along with his cabinet and SCOTUS picks are not only revealing he had no intention of honoring his promises of “draining the swamp” in his campaign speeches, but his selections are giving swamps a bad name. This, while serving as the latest naked ambassadors of our captured corporate state.

    2)The blinders within which your concerns are confined, that is, to economic impacts resulting from captured agencies preclude an understanding of how to address the problem. To the extent the taxpaying public suffers far greater economic losses — unfairly impacted by an entrenched, captured agency — it seems painfully obvious to address causation rather than effects of a captured agency. It is painful to watch former agency careerists such as yourself, Sharon, and others defending status quo National Forest mismanagement and perverse philosophy, while perennially complaining about the system of governance we operate under known as the separation of powers as defined in our constitution.

    3. Given the economic realities that mill jobs have long-since been relegated to the lowest common denominator of lowest wage pools, globalized timber markets, automation, offshored and outsourced plantation production in foreign lands, I am routinely astonished at careerist beneficiaries such as yourself using this blog to demonstrate just how utterly entrenched you are and rendered incapable of an understanding of what your ultimate ethical responsibilities are to your former employers, the constitutional republic and “We the People” aka American taxpayers.

    4) Yes, Ethical responsibilities — not to the hierarchy of line officers you once answered to, but responsibilities to American taxpayers, the clear majority of which, value public lands of our national forest system far more as having access to public forests in their natural states serving public functions known as ecosystem services and far more.

    After all, gaining access to intact forest lands is an increasingly rarified experience, in an increasingly privatized national landscape.

    Just visit our national park systems sometime. They are overflowing to the “gills,” Gil, (so to speak) to the extent the burgeoning masses now impact and preclude the whole point of why and what the public desired enough to get there in the first place.

    So rather than ignore the demonstrated needs of those public lands within the NFS, please consider that the vast majority of Americans desire them to be managed and responsive to this burgeoning demand for recreation, tourism, watershed management, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and truly sustainable economies. After all, these functions and services are generating massive truly sustainable revenue-positive cash flows.

    To defend an agency administrative intent under the quaint and utterly dated guise of “multiple use” in order to relegate NFS public lands to a corporate tree plantation status to be managed for the temporary periodic enrichment of a relative few (every six-ten decades), at the profound expense of the many is simply not working.

    • David, I’ve read your screed three times and can’t decipher its intent. What exactly are you trying to say? I take it that you don’t like the English Rule but could you please tell us succinctly why the English have it all wrong? Explain clearly why the losers of frivolous or baseless lawsuits (attested by the fact that they do not prevail) should not pay for their frivolity or legal incompetence? Please, no extraneous commentary on victims and perpetrators, veterans’ rights, vassals of corporate states, biodiversity, national park overuse, public land access, recreation opportunities, out-dated multiple use, captured agencies, globalized timber markets etc. etc.

      • Howdy Mack. I don’t see much ‘screed’ in David’s comments, but I do notice that you claim you want an explanation regarding supposed ‘frivolous or baseless lawsuits.’ You are aware that the term ‘frivolous’ lawsuit does have a legal definition, right? And the definition of a supposed ‘frivolous’ lawsuit isn’t a ‘baseless lawsuit that W.V. (Mac) McConnell doesn’t like,” right?

        So, Mac, can you please provide evidence of any supposed ‘frivolous’ lawsuit filed against a public lands timber sale, as ruled by a federal court judge? Thanks in advance, Mac.

      • ” David, I’ve read your screed three times and can’t decipher its intent. ” (W.V.)

        W.V., First, thanks for demonstrating the validity of my thesis of, ” just how utterly entrenched you are and rendered incapable of an understanding of … your ultimate ethical responsibilities.”

        Given this validated thesis, if you can’t follow the numbered paragraphs responding point by point to Gil’s numbered (re)post, then it’s safe to say any further description would also be lost on you.

        Additionally, it’s hard not to point out in the title, “those who frustrate forest restoration” constitute the agency itself, which not only frustrates “restoration” but constitutes causality of the need to “restore,” in the first place … (if this is eerily reminiscent of a snake eating its tail, it is because it is so.)

        However, perhaps you can understand the language of a couple of WO (Washington Office of the USFS) reports “reviewing’ the execution of just two timber sale contracts on just two districts of the Tongass National Forest, just last year.

        These contracts normally would have fallen into the standard deficit timber sale contracts, in which the paltry returns of a few cents on the taxpayer dollar were returned to the general treasury. However, the latest USFS Public Relations program marketing “Integrated Resource Timber Contracts,” were designed to convince the public to believe “revenues” derived from clearcutting and helicopter logging of old growth timber (aka corporate asset stripping) would be locally retained.

        If this agency rationale triggers cognitive dissonance, you are not alone: deficit “revenues” from asset-stripping centuries-old coastal temperate rainforests of southeast Alaska into a regional agency slush fund for the purposes of local funding of “restoration” and “stewardship,” constitute another logical fallacy. (or “screed” by your description?)

        Setting aside the biological facts well-established by peer reviewed, published papers by several leading researchers, that “restoration” of old growth is only fully accomplished by the passage of centuries — the USFS’ fanciful PR claims of “restoration” simply cannot occur regardless, because there exists insufficient funding (alone — not to mention centuries required for forest succession).

        Why?

        Because the WO analyses of these two contracts point out two of two USFS districts failed spectacularly in executing, administering, monitoring and enforcing the terms of these two randomly selected IRTC contracts totaling >150 mmbf (million board feet). Between the two sales, the WO measured the losses in the several millions of dollars to local rural (“timber-dependent”) communities. These are real losses to badly-hit local schools, and losses of the promised millions of dollars advancing nonsensical claims of “restoration and stewardship.”

        The reports can either be labeled “screeds” or acknowledged as they must — astonishing and yet vindicating examples of characterizations of a captured federal agency violating its own guidelines created to prevent corporate collusion, outright theft of public resources, and agency-enabled embezzlement of untold millions of dollars of public revenues to the direct detriment of local communities.

        Read and weep (or perhaps deny and label, “screed!” — “vitriol!” :
        https://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/forest-service-scalped-on-tongass-timber-sales.html

        • Would a “captured agency” eliminate clearcutting and old growth harvesting for all National Forests within the Sierra Nevada?!?!? Would a “captured agency” limit the thinning of trees (in the Sierra Nevada) to an average diameter of about 14.5 inches in diameter?!?!? Would a “captured agency” leave most of the Rim Fire unsalvaged?!?!?

          Of course not!

    • David, you said about me “seems painfully obvious to address causation rather than effects of a captured agency. It is painful to watch former agency careerists such as yourself, Sharon, and others defending status quo National Forest mismanagement and perverse philosophy, while perennially complaining about the system of governance we operate under known as the separation of powers as defined in our constitution.”

      I’m not complaining about the “separation of powers”. I love the separation of powers. I just question whether the system we have is tilted toward some at the expense of others, and gives some (undue) power over others, and spends money funding things that are not necessary when it could be spend for other more useful things. . You and I don’t see things the same way. But I don’t see any reason to question your ethics, morals etc. or even your passion or commitment to what you see as right and wrong. I think we share that and simply disagree about things. I think our society could use more civil disagreement as that helps us work out complex issues, and not so much questioning people’s intentions or morality. But that’s just me 🙂

      If most people want National Forests to be about recreation, that’s fine (except recreation also has environmental impacts). Then most people get to vote to change MUSYA to the National Recreation and Environmental Preservation Act (for both the FS and BLM?). It seems to me that deciding what public lands are to be used for is the role of Congress in passing laws. Courts interpret laws, and if people don’t like the interpretations, they can change the laws or write new regulations. That’s where the separation of powers becomes more like a rugby scrum with three teams.

    • David

      In reply to some of your claims:
      A) As to your charges about federal agencies being an “entrenched, captured agency”
      –> Who has captured these agencies? You don’t understand that all of the forestry side of the business world doesn’t want any timber coming off of federal lands. They love “lock it up” people like yourself. You put more money in their pockets by driving prices up. Lumber futures are presently at a 12 year high thanks in part to people such as yourself.
      B) As to your charges that I am a “former agency careerists”
      –> I worked for the USFS after my freshman year in college the summer of 64 as a GS-3 doing timber stand improvement to minimize fire risk, fight fires, surveying, and performing other silvicultural duties on the Shasta Trinity out of the Mule Creek Ranger Station; in the summer of 66 probably as GS-3 as a caretaker of an 1,800 acre research station in Buckingham Co. Va, and did the same thing part time on weekends in my senior year 66 – 67; then in the summer of 67 before grad school, I worked as a GS-5 or 7 as a statistician in Upper Darby, PA. If that makes me a USFS careerist by your books then so be it.
      C) As to your charges that I am ethically challenged.
      –> My career was in the forestry and wood products industry and you would be sadly mistaken if you thought that meant that I bowed and scraped to my supervisors or my former employers then or now. Several people including an Exec VP took a dive for trying to play loose with the rules when I had a say and it cost me as well but I am no man’s lackey and only responsible to the truth. So you have no idea about that which you speak and you have no room to make false accusations about my ethics. Have you ever stood up to the Klan in the deep, deep south and had a cross burned against you? Have you ever called out your own church for crucifying Christ again in their racist lies against a preacher who invited too many “undesireables” to church?
      D) As to your charges that I “ignore the demonstrated needs of those public lands within the NFS, please consider that the vast majority of Americans desire them to be managed and responsive to this burgeoning demand for recreation, tourism, watershed management, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and truly sustainable economies” and that I “relegate NFS public lands to a corporate tree plantation status to be managed for the temporary periodic enrichment of a relative few”
      –> So you admit that we have a problem with “burgeoning demand for recreation, tourism”. What is your answer? Are you going to lock up more and more lands until we run out and let the public spoil them also or are you going to face the music and manage to avoid the destruction of said beauty and to teach the public to enjoy forests wherever and how they find them – see #2 in this link. From what I hear, I wouldn’t even want to go back to Yosemite because of the traffic. It was bad enough around ’75.
      –> You obviously haven’t read what I have written over various different discussion threads on this blog site. Including my own experience from childhood on these beloved lands – see the paragraph above item #1 at this link. Instead you appear to have read into my words meanings that I have explicitly denied.
      –> We have the same goals. The difference is that my education and experience have taught me that the current policies based on your and other enviros lack of knowledge on the science of forestry and the complexity of the role it plays in providing habitat for all of the species that depend on it has already failed and the results will only get exponentially worse the longer you and others continue to rely on wishful thinking and faux science designed to support such thinking. If you don’t read anything else please read at least the first sentence in #2-b at this link. I am not advocating plantations in national forests. That would seem to be your attempt to make life easy for yourself by shutting down the conversation instead of truly trying to understand the complexities involved in order to do what is best for the long term. I don’t advocate anything but small clearcuts on federal lands and then only when it is necessary to provide a temporary fire break or it is the only way to regenerate an unhealthy forest that can’t be restored by other means and even that is only when the landscape level integrated forest plan deems that a specific shade intolerant species needs to be present to meet the balance between people’s desires and the needs of the ecosystem as a whole to provide habitat for all species.

      Your ESP isn’t very good.

  2. I have better things to do on a Sunday morning, as I’m sure most everyone else does too, but I will just point out that the author of the opinion piece “Equal Access to Justice Act often aids those who frustrate forest restoration” in the Idaho Statement is a gentleman named Mike Boeck, who describes himself as “an outdoor enthusiast. He has spent over 43 years as a resource professional working in forest management and resource procurement, most recently with TriPro Forest Products and Merritt Brothers Lumber Co.”

    I also point out that Mr. Boeck’s opinion piece likely has a number of factual errors in it. Errors which Gil has reposted above.

    For example, as one commenter at the Idaho Statesmen pointed out: “Did a little research… The Social Security Trust fund pays for EAJA disability claims, etc. that have to do with Social Security – not for Forest Service claims so this part of your article is misleading.”

    Also, another comment on-line points out: “Omitted from Mr. Boeck’s op-ed is that award of attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act is conditioned on U.S. District Court judge finding that the party suing the federal agency in question “prevailed,” and that the suing party’s position was “very substantially justified.” I guess Mr. Boeck wants lawsuits against federal agencies to be filed only by entities who can pay their own legal fees and court costs, entities such as his former employers, and not citizen environmental groups.”

    Perhaps if someone has more time or interest some of the other claims can be fact-checked.

    • Well I’m curious here. This Mike Boeck. Is this the same Mike Boeck that slammed me on Richard Halsey’s Chaparral Institute Facebook page when they were pushing the lie about the BLM Homepage photograph propaganda which insisted there was some kind of right wing conspiracy, when in fact some BLM people there commented that the photo rotation software and photos came from the previous Administration ?

  3. Well, the Sunday morning vitriol would certainly seem to preclude any further discussion so I’ll follow Matthew’s typical response and suggest that he contact the author for clarification.

    After all Matthew, if it is OK for you to post garbage and disclaim any responsibility for passing along falsehoods why shouldn’t it be OK for me to pass along opinion pieces?

    • Hi Gil. I’m sorry if you see so much ‘vitriol’ in my comment. I don’t…but do see plenty in your response. I simply was providing additional background information that the author of the opinion piece you highlighted provided about himself. Backgrounds seem important around here. Anyway, I also noticed at least one factual error in his piece, and other readers did too, so I posted their comments here and invited anyone interested to perhaps fact-check other parts of the opinion piece. Seems like a fair use of this blog and knowledgeable audience.

  4. Mike Boeck wrote:

    “The act was passed in 1980 to help veterans with disabilities pursue claims against the federal government.”

    Here’s some information regarding the “Legislative History of the EAJA” published by the Louisiana Law Review in 1994.

    The Equal Access to Justice Act was originally enacted as a rider to a small
    business assistance bill, reflecting the concern of Congress that small businesses
    were being subjected to arbitrary regulation by federal administrators and “that
    small business are the target of agency action precisely because they do not have
    the resources to fully litigate the issue.” However, although the statute imposed
    certain eligibility limits based upon net worth and employment size, Congress
    extended the benefits of the EAJA to nearly all citizens or entities contesting
    unreasonable exercises of government authority.’ The EAJA, as originally
    enacted, contained a sunset provision allowing a three-year trial period, and the
    Act expired by its own terms on October 1, 1984. Although Congress had
    passed various amendments to the Act in October of 1984,’s the bill was vetoed
    by President Reagan on November 8, 1984. In 1985, Congress passed new
    legislation, including changes responsive to the President’s objections, that
    reinstated the EAJA retroactively to October 1, 1984.’ On August 5, 1985,
    President Reagan signed the bill.’ The EAJA, as amended, was re-enacted as
    a permanent statute.

    Also, for whatever it’s worth, as far as I’ve been able to figure out, EAJA had a substantial revision in 1992, when Congress applied the provisions of EAJA to proceedings before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. To me, that indicates that the statement “The act was passed in 1980 to help veterans with disabilities pursue claims against the federal government” isn’t accurate since it appears Veterans claims didn’t fall under EAJA until 1992.

  5. Here’s some other information to consider.

    According to this research paper from the Journal of Forestry in September 2011, total EAJA awards paid by the U.S. Forest Service during a 7 year period from 1999 to 2005 were $6,137,583. Not all those payments were made to environmental groups. Over $400,000 of those EAJA payments were made to ‘commodity’ interests.

    The U.S. Forest Service budget during that same 7 year period was roughly $3 billion per year, or $21,000,000,000 total.

    Therefore it appears that EAJA payments made to both environmental and commodity interests from the U.S. Forest Service from 1999 to 2005 represented about 0.029% of the entire U.S. Forest Service budget.

    Anyone is welcome to fact check any of these numbers.

  6. You’re right Matt, “In law, frivolous litigation is the practice of starting or carrying on lawsuits that, due to their lack of legal merit, have little to no chance of being won. The term does not include cases that may be lost due to other matters not related to legal merit’ (Wikipedia) I used the term loosely, in the layman’s sense. And David, I admire your commitment and intensity and it may well be that my failure to understand my ultimate ethical responsibilities (whatever these may be) is responsible for my inability to decipher your intent. To me, it seems fair and reasonable that reimbursement for costs and damages should be a two way street with both sides treated equally.. Sufficient to say, I’m still confused and ask you to help me understand why this is not so . You can do this by answering this question(s). (Please, in less than 200 words)

    Should a litigant who fails prevail reimburse the defendent for costs of, and damages to, the defendant caused by the litigant’s suit? If no, why not?

    • As far as I can tell, if you want to stop virtually any and all litigation against the federal government (including the lawsuits one might like and the lawsuits one might hate) then requiring a litigant (such as a Veteran, Social Security recipient, small business owner, environmental group, etc) to reimburse legal costs (and any “damages” caused by the lawsuit) is the best way to ensure that litigation-free future for the federal government. Of course, be careful what you wish for.

      By the way, looks like EAJA payments made by the U.S. Social Security Administration have doubled since 2010. In 2010, the EAJA payments were $19,743,189. In 2015 the EAJA payments were $38,132,381.

      Again, during a 7 year period between 1999 and 2005 total EAJA awards paid by the U.S. Forest Service were $6,137,583, which included $400,000+ paid to commodity interests.

  7. The author of the op-ed and Karen Budd-Fallon are both quite biased against conservation interests.

    This is evident when they say “No one counts the cost of jobs lost and families displaced after mills are forced to close due to lack of resources. …”

    They also do not count the savings to the Treasury and the tremendous value to the public when public-interest litigants stop ill-considered timber sales. Avoided logging can be counted as clean water, carbon storage, enhanced recovery of listed species, improved scenic and recreational values, improved quality of life, and economic diversification and economic stability.

    • Yep, look at all the money we’re saving by letting forests die, rot and burn. Yep, are those billions being well spent? Are drought, bark beetles and firestorms improving water quality, locking carbon away, improving recreational opportunities, saving endangered species, improving the quality of life and diversifying economies?

      Not from where I sit.

    • Gosh, you get all that from stopping a timber sale? Would it follow that if we stopped all timber sales we could solve most of our problems around here?
      I think we all know that our federal land managers spend an inordinate amount of time and money putting up a timber sale. Fear of litigation does add to these costs. You can have all the meetings you can stand and still get sued.
      And just because it might be a “deficit” sale doesn’t mean it doesn’t create economy. Also all the profits don’t end up in corporate headquarters. Most are returned in the form of jobs and products.
      Just my opinion, but most lawsuits against the FS and BLM have been frivolous, and the environmental groups have profited from them.
      I like Sharon’s comments from a few days ago. Something like “the timber wars were fought 30 years ago and the timber industry lost”. Seems like we need to keep explaining this.

      • Hi Bob, You are correct. It is just your opinion that “most lawsuits against the FS and BLM have been frivolous.” Why is that an opinion? Perhaps it should also be called an ‘alternative fact’ because not one single federal court judge (left wing or right wing, or in between) has ruled any of the timber sale lawsuits ‘frivolous.’

    • Taking the same liberties with words as 2ndLaw: I could say that it appears that 2ndLaw is uninformed and “quite biased against conservation interests.”

      Taking the same liberties again: His lack of understanding and bias “is evident when” he says “They also do not count the savings to the Treasury and the tremendous value to the public when public-interest litigants stop ill-considered timber sales. Avoided logging can be counted as clean water, carbon storage, enhanced recovery of listed species, improved scenic and recreational values, improved quality of life, and economic diversification and economic stability.”

      1) 2ndLaw and many enviros on this site do not appear to consider the following economics:
      a) The cost to the Treasury and to individuals of overly dense forests causing excessive catastrophic fires and their impact on human health.
      b) The cost to landowners adjacent/proximate to federal lands resulting from the feds not managing so as to minimize damage from fire, insects and disease to those adjoining and close proximity landowners.
      c) Even a net loss commercial silvicultural/restoration activity intended to reduce the risk of catastrophic loss is less expensive than carrying out a silvicultural improvement/restoration project by not marketing any cut saleable timber to offset some of the costs. This is a rather elementary economic principle. Nor do enviros seem to recognize that the destruction of the forestry and wood products infrastructure by the faux environmentally driven excessive >1990 85-90% reduction in annual federal harvests has made the net loss of harvests worse by adding tremendous hauling cost and by reducing market value of commercial harvests on federal lands. The reduced delivered market value results from reduced availability of diverse product markets.
      d) Economic diversification is not increased by removing a significant economic sector from the mix when that sector provides the very means to provide more long term sustainability for the forest dependent species than provided by nature alone considering that nature can no longer be divorced from human influence including arsonists and careless humans. Sustainable Forestry doesn’t reduce economic diversity. It increases it. Sustainable forestry can be tailored to meet federal forest goals a lot better than catastrophic fire, insects or disease can.
      e) Economic stability obtained by removing opportunity and consigning the affected people to a constant or more static state of significantly reduced income is unconstitutional. 2ndLaw’s espoused elitist central control of other’s economic opportunities and freedoms in the name of stability is repressive and judgmental in that it assumes that said rural nincompoops are too stupid to invest money in the good years to help even out the cash flow. So if that is true then I guess that makes Real-estate agents, brokers, enviros with plenty of money to spend on their favorite causes and on visiting remote wilderness areas subsidized by those who can’t afford to do so, car dealers, lawyers and etc. who must be so much smarter that they deserve more freedom to maximize their wealth over their lifetimes through good and bad years. If anyone wants economic stability then I suggest that they set a good example and move to Russia, China, or North Korea.

      2) 2ndLaw, and others, (in spite of having been repeatedly informed by some on this site as to the science) choose to continue to propagate falsehoods such as “Avoided logging can be counted as clean water, carbon storage, enhanced recovery of listed species, improved scenic and recreational values, improved quality of life.”
      a) Sure, “Avoided logging can be counted as …” if one puts blinders on and doesn’t consider the entire system and the science behind all of its biological and physical interactions. Check out the word holistic sometime. It is exactly the opposite of enviro’s oft espoused single species management for “enhanced recovery of listed species”. “Single species management” and the “hands off” environmental movement that it spawned is the primary cause of the low vigor of our overly dense federal forests which has (compounded by any warming and drought) resulted in unnecessarily increased risk of catastrophic loss to those same forests. Too bad the original NSO “single species management” effort has failed because it was based on guesses as admitted to by the daddy of the NSO. I bet enviros have even used the word “holistic” occasionally when it suited their agenda. Nothing like inconsistency is there? When one has to wiggle out of a logical inconsistency – just keep piling them on?
      b) Properly planned and executed logging, control burns and other silvicultrual treatments used only where and to the extent appropriate to the circumstances in order to meet the integrated landscape level goals specific to each federal forest will (over the long term) provide cleaner water, more carbon storage, enhanced recovery of listed species, improved scenic and recreational values and improved quality of life. That is unless enviros don’t mind excessively large national ashtrays, insect and disease areas and their impact on carbon storage, viewsheds, recreation, endangered species, soil erosion, damage to adjoining and proximate landowners, damage to watersheds and impaired human health from smoke inhalation for great distances downwind. But that would be inconsistent logic, so surely that isn’t what enviros want.
      c) If someone wants pristine forests that haven’t had their fire cycle previously interrupted to the extent that they now need an alternate to the formerly compensating human intervention which enviros outlawed in the form of an overly large reduction in harvesting activity then I suggest that they move to the vast remote beauty of Siberia. At least they wouldn’t have to worry about being responsible for increased human health concerns from excessive wild fire.

      Sorry, Larry and Bob, but I just had to elaborate on your comments. Forgive me. 🙂

  8. Let’s make it clear. No-one wants to stop all litigation against the Forest Service. Advocates (including me) of “let the loser pay costs of the winner” just want equal treatment for all parties. This is not now the case.

    The litigants involved in these suits are not impoverished disabled veterans seeking justice. They are multi-million dollar Not-for-Profit organizations. with a cadre of attorneys combing EISs, EAs, and FONSIs .. In 2014, the Center for Biological Diversity, the most active of these groups, enjoyed a total revenue of $14,036,639 in has and had net assets of $17, 135, 770 (IRS form 990, available online). Kieran Sucking, Executive Director, received an annual compensation of $186,754 and Perter Gavin, Program Director, was paid $170,361. Another 4 officers earned salaries of over $100,000. Environmental Activism is big business . It doesn’t need special favoritism or a financial advantage in waging its battles against the U.S. Forest Service.

  9. Like I keep saying Mac…Be careful what you wish for. Seems pretty clear that you want to stop all litigation against the Forest Service that you don’t like. What about all the times the U.S. Forest Service is sued by a commodity interest? Or sued by an outfitter? Or sued by a public lands grazer? I assume you want to let the loser pay the costs of the winner in those court cases too?

    A few things. You realize that, according to the research I linked to above, the Center for Biological Diversity was listed as an plaintiff in a U.S. Forest Service suit that resulted in an EAJA payment a grand total of 6 times during a 7 year period from 1999-2005? Is that a crazy amount in your mind?

    During that 7 year period just how many projects open to potential litigation do you think the 150+ National Forests pushed out? 1,000? 2,000? 5,000?

    Did you know that Peter Gavin was formerly a contract wildlife researcher for the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department?

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