Settlement: opening roads to motorized use requires NEPA (take 2)

It’s the Pike-San Isabel this time.  The issue appears to be “unauthorized and unanalyzed” routes.  It’s not clear whether those are two different things, but I think the point is that when a Motor Vehicle Use Map allows motorized use on user-created (“unauthorized?”) roads, the map becomes an authorization that triggers NEPA, ESA, NFMA consistency …

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Some better things coming from the Blues (Mtns.)

Since I criticized the FS there in a couple of previous posts, here’s a couple of things I think they’ve done right. It’s important that the public understand the relationship between forest planning and travel management planning, and this explanation from the Wallowa-Whitman is reasonably clear.  I think it should work about as well as …

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Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest Plan NEPA not site-specific enough

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge (B-D) National Forest’s revised forest plan to designate areas for use by winter motorized vehicles. It found that the forest plan EIS failed to provide analysis that was site-specific enough to make an informed decision, as required by NEPA, and that the planning …

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Clearwater travel plan remanded (again)

Environmental plaintiffs successfully overturned the Clearwater National Forest travel plan in district court (newspaper coverage here). There are some implications for forest planning. The court found the travel plan to be inconsistent with the forest plan’s requirement for elk habitat effectiveness (EHE) because it used the same methodology to evaluate EHE that was used for …

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How the sue and settle process really works

This 6-page opinion includes a discussion of how courts decide whether to approve a consent decree. The case also demonstrates the ability of intervenors to influence the outcome.  In this case environmental groups intervened in a lawsuit by motorized users over a travel plan decision.  Because of the intervenors, the court refused to approve the …

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Final policy for managing over-snow vehicle use

Let winter travel planning begin.  Not something the Forest Service wanted to do, but the result of a court decision that found the Forest Service incorrectly exempted snowmobiles from the travel planning regulations.  Here is the new regulation and a news article. Over-snow vehicle use on National Forest System roads, on National Forest System trails, and …

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Settlement agreements in litigation

Here is a textbook example, from the Stanislaus National Forest travel planning process. The Forest Service makes a decision Plaintiffs sue Intervention granted to supporters of the decision Court finds Forest Service violated a procedural analysis requirement Plaintiffs, intervenors and Forest Service agree on an interim solution while the process is redone It looks like …

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NEPA abuse in travel planning

The basic requirement of NEPA is to evaluate environmental impacts before taking action.  Thus, the Payette National Forest prepared an EIS before implementing a travel management plan.  Part of that decision included closing all user-created roads until their effects could be site-specifically evaluated. The Forest Service was sued for violating NEPA “because they fail to …

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Collaboration Example: Black Hills Travel Management with FACA Committee

If, as stated by many, collaboration is a tool of “industry”, what industry are we talking about here? Here’s an example of how the recommendations and agency action interrelate on the draft Travel Management Plan. Proposed Action Early development of the proposed action involved extensive consultation with many individuals and groups. Some of this work …

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