What is Beyond the “Fog of War”?

There are scary and uncertain times ahead for our forests. There is just too much “Fog of War” going on for the public to sort out and fact-check for themselves. Even the ‘fact-checkers’ should be suspect, until proven reliable and bias-free. The rise of ‘fake news’ has blurred multiple lines, and many people, even in …

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Why NEPA Docs are Long… Example of Agency Comments (EPA)

I would bet if you examined agency comments from the agencies involved in reviewing NEPA docs for actions proposed by other agencies, you would find almost entirely “you need to do more’s” and not many “you could have shortened this section by leaving out’s”. Culturally, reviewers tend to be supporting their agency’s view, or a …

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Logging in potential wilderness could foreclose forest plan options

Taking this story about the Pisgah National Forest at face value, it raises the question of what kind of management is appropriate while a national forest is revising its forest plan.  We just looked at another example of how the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest appeared to be anticipating changes that would result from its revised …

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Forest Service wins A to Z

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court denial of a preliminary injunction for the North Fork Mill Creek A to Z Project on the Colville National Forest, which has been discussed here. Of note, the question of contractor-NEPA was not addressed, although the court said that the Forest Service “reviewed and approved” the EA, and …

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Tennessee Creek Project in Colorado- Successful EA for Large Project

This case is from the July 28, 2017 Litigation Weekly but maybe deserves separate discussion. Previously folks have said you shouldn’t do EA’s but should do EIS’s, seemingly based on case law more than the NEPA regulations themselves (or as it has been characterized “DOJ won’t defend EA’s”). So we had been watching to see …

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“Not Enough Analysis”: The Ongoing Saga of the Village at Wolf Creek

When I was working in Region 2, I used to call this project “Reasonable Access for Unreasonable People”- I think at that point it involved ANILCA access to private land, and not a land exchange. This is a later incarnation of the same project. For those who don’t remember the first incarnation, there was the …

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Planning for pipelines – not

A Draft Record of Decision document released by the United States Forest Service would allow 11 exceptions to the Jefferson National Forest Plan and adopt an amendment that allows old growth forests, rare species and wetlands to be destroyed by the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The Draft Record of Decision (ROD)  states that “the proposed …

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Forest Service and BLM slightly lose sage grouse lawsuit in Nevada

The state of Nevada, nine counties, three mining companies, and a private ranch challenged the adoption of greater sage grouse conservation measures in Forest Service and BLM land management plans.  Most of the agency actions were upheld in Western Exploration v. USDI (D. Nevada), including compliance with FLPMA requirements of BLM for multiple use and …

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9th Circuit upholds EA for Shasta-Trinity logging project

The mantra I always use to hear was don’t use an EA if you might get sued.  Maybe things are different now?  Or maybe this was just one of those EAs that looked a lot like an EIS. The Project’s proposed treatment methods will retain all existing snags greater than 15 inches in diameter, “unless …

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Fremont-Winema wins sucker lawsuit

In Oregon Wild v. Cummins, the Oregon district court upheld the Fremont-Winema National Forest’s compliance with the requirement of INFISH to “modify grazing practices … that retard or prevent the attainment of [Riparian Management Objectives (“RMOs”)] or are likely to adversely affect inland fish.”   The court quoted a prior case for INFISH requirements: “INFISH contemplates …

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