Federal liability for fires it starts

This topic has come up a few times, and the Missoulian did a little legal research on it for us, but I think it’s incomplete.  In short, federal agencies are protected by sovereign immunity against claims of damages, and its employees are protected when performing their official duties – even if negligent.  What this article …

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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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Western Watersheds v. USFS (D. Idaho)

This case involves the decision by the Targhee National Forest to issue new Annual Operating Instructions to the Agricultural Research Service in 2017 to allow the U. S. Sheep Experiment station to continue grazing sheep on two allotments. This case was summarized in today’s Litigation Weekly, but since it found two violations of the forest …

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Litigation Weekly November 17

Litigation Weekly Nov 17 Wildlands Defense v Seesholtz Temporary restraining order denied for the North and South Pioneer projects on the Boise N. F. approved under an emergency situation determination, and involving bull trout, Canada lynx and forest plan soil condition standards.  (D. Idaho)  (previous summary 10/6 here) WWA v USFS  (update) The lawsuit involves publication of …

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Forest Service Litigation-Behind the Scenes III: Bringing Knitting to a Knife Fight?

Long time readers are familiar with this post from 2011 which links to an interview with Kieran Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity. I have appreciated his directness and honesty about what the Center’s lawsuits are really about. The interview was by Ray Ring of the High Country News, and Gina is a friend …

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Forest Service Litigation-Behind the Scenes II: Should Secretary of Agriculture Adopt EPA Transparency Guidelines?

It turns out that other folks have noticed the problem of lack of transparency in government settlements, and also the idea that other people should have time to weigh in to these settlements. These include more powerful entities (compared to FS employees and retirees) like States, specifically in dealing with EPA settlements and the problem …

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Forest Service Litigation-Behind the Scenes: I. Settlements, Policy and Public Comment

In this series of posts, I’m going to talk about what it was like for me to be a Forest Service employee involved in litigation, and how that experience leads me to this claim: that for many, if not most, projects and land management decisions, making decisions via the court system is suboptimal. I’m not …

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Litigation Weekly Nov. 9

(No new court decisions) Litigation Weekly Nov 9 20171030_LPFW_60DayNotice (1) The Los Padres Forest Watch claims that the Los Padres NF has failed to manage target shooting as required by the forest plan, and failed to reinitiate consultation on the plan (for effects on California condors) and therefore is violating ESA.

Litigation Weekly Nov. 3

Litigation Weekly Nov 3 WestWatershedProj v USFS Annual operating instructions for four grazing allotments on the Salmon-Challis NF complied with the INFISH aquatic strategy in the forest plan.  (D. Idaho) New case WestWatershedsProj NOI Williams Creek The NOI questions compliance by the Sawtooth NF with conditions from previous ESA consultation on livestock grazing in the …

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