Yesterday (7/27), in a lawsuit brought by FSEEE, U.S. federal district court Judge Donald Molloy ruled that the Forest Service had violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service had violated the Endangered Species Act in regard to the Forest Service’s use of aerial fire retardant. The retardant is used primarily in the West, with California accounting for half of the over 20 million gallons dropped from airplanes and helicopters annually. The retardant, which includes ammonia-based fertilizer, is toxic to fish and threatens rare plants.
The judge ordered the Forest Service to prepare an environmental impact statement and complete ESA consultation with FWS and NMFS by December 31, 2011. He also warned that failing to do could be met with sanctions, including contempt proceedings, which wouldn’t be the first time.