Has “energy dominance” lost a battle?

Opponents of fracking on the Wayne National Forest filed a lawsuit last spring alleging the failure of the BLM and Forest Service to comply with NEPA and the Endangered Species Act in authorizing oil and gas leasing.  They argued that when the forest plan was revised in 2006 it didn’t address the effects of fracking.  …

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Litigation Weekly – February 2, 2018

Litigation Weekly Feb 2 ICL v FS (New case.)  Plaintiffs claim 23 surface water diversions on the Sawtooth National Forest adversely affect listed fish species, and that the Forest Service failed to consult on them with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service as required by the Endangered Species Act.  (D. Idaho)  (Also discussed here.) …

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Lawsuit against water diversions on the Sawtooth

Nearly two dozen water diversion projects in central Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley are harming federally protected salmon, steelhead and bull trout, according to the Idaho Conservation League (and this article). Specifically, the lawsuit says the Forest Service in 2001 prepared environmental documents called Biological Assessments and found most of the 23 diversions are “likely to adversely …

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Forest Service on the bandwagon to unprotect sage grouse

Time is running out to comment on the notice that initiated “the scoping process to solicit public comments on greater sage-grouse land management issues that could warrant land management plan amendments” on 15 national forests and grasslands.  (Comments are due Friday.)  The majority of sage grouse habitat is found on BLM lands (I think the …

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Earth Island Institute v. Elliott (E. D. California)

This case was decided on November 16, but has not yet been included in a Forest Service litigation summary. At issue is the Bull Run project, a fire salvage restoration project to treat a strip of land along an area of roadways affected by the Cedar Fire on the Sequoia National Forest. The court denied …

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Who gets to be “in the room”

Discussion about the unfair access of litigants to decision-makers ignores the privileged position of local governments and economic interests during the planning process.  That is illustrated by this account of a meeting between the Forest Service, ESA regulatory agencies and northeast Oregon ranchers and county commissioners concerning revision of the Blue Mountains forest plans and …

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WA murrelet strategy should “meet only minimum federal standards for protections”

At least that’s what the Washington state politicians are urging their Department of Natural Resources to adopt for its lands. The DNR is currently considering five different proposals to protect the bird species. A final decision is expected within the next few weeks. Walsh has come out in favor of “alternative B” which he says …

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Sage grouse planning do-over

This article discusses the last Trump/Zinke twist in the effort to prevent sage listing of the greater sage grouse under ESA.  While sage grouse habitat on federal lands is mostly under BLM jurisdiction, the Forest Service is also a big player, and 20 forest plans were amended in 2015 to include conservation measures that were …

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Litigation bi-weekly October 6 & 13

Litigation Weekly Oct 6 New cases WildlandsDefense_v_Seesholtz  –  Challenge to the North and South Pioneer Salvage and Reforestation Projects on the Boise NF for its analysis of bull trout, including ESA consultation, and for compliance with forest plan standards for soils and salvage harvesting.  (D. Idaho) EarthIslandInstitute_v_Elliott  –  Challenge to the Bull Run Roadside Hazard …

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New lawsuit on Arizona copper mine and jaguars

The Coronado National Forest has been sued by the Center for Biological Diversity for approving the Rosemont copper mine.  The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also a defendant because the issues involve ESA consultation on the mine. The Rosemont Mine would “significantly impact a number of endangered species and their remaining habitat, including one …

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