Enjoined timber sale “renegotiated”

The Johnson Bar Salvage Sale on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest has been approved by the Forest Service and the litigants.  (Johnson Bar has been previously discussed here in several posts.)

Following the injunction, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert pulled the project and committed to a rewrite that was completed earlier this year. The environmental groups filed objections to the new logging plan, but those objections were resolved through negotiations between the agency, the environmental groups and timber companies.

“Nobody got 100 percent of what they wanted in this effort. But they have been really good about working through the process and understanding it’s in all of our best interests to get something done out there,” Probert said.

Bill Higgins of the Idaho Forest Group — one of the timber companies that successfully bid on the sale — estimated it will produce 25 percent to 40 percent of the original volume

“It’s not the best outcome,” he said. “The original project implementation on the schedule they were on was the desired outcome. This is making the best of kind of a bad situation.”

The project eliminates logging in areas that are visible from the river and places the groups feared were prone to erosion and landslides or areas that could degrade steelhead spawning habitat.

What’s not to like about this?  Maybe only that they could have done this without the litigation step, but apparently the litigation step was needed to convince the Forest Service that it couldn’t just do what it wanted without a fight.  (Anticipating Sharon’s argument, let’s assume that the timber purchasers and local governments were not formally “at the table,” but they were free to advise the Forest Service on what they wanted.)

2 Comments

  1. “…places the groups feared were prone to erosion and landslides or areas that could degrade steelhead spawning habitat.”

    But were they, would they? Did the environmental groups cite input from independent geologists and biologists?

  2. Steve, the most important thing to me is that despite the injunction, at the end of the day the groups sat down together and the decision was made in the middle somewhere. I wonder how this happened?

    It would also be interesting to see how Friends of the Clearwater now see the objection vs. appeal process as compared to their original thinking in “>this article .

    “Whether you are a timber industry advocate or a strict preservationist, you are going to need to break out your crystal ball to determine what the Forest Service is going to do before they do it,” said Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League.That has the possibility of spawning more objections and taking more time than the current system, said Gary Macfarlane of the Moscow-based Friends of the Clearwater.“Right now appeals are done after a decision is made so both parties know what the decision is; objections and concerns can be more pointed, more boiled down,” he said. “It’s going to force people who object to do the kitchen-sink model, to throw as many concerns out there as possible.”Those who do not participate in the public involvement and objection process won’t have standing to file lawsuits, raising the stakes and incentive for filing a broad range of objections, environmentalists say.”

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