A guest post from JZ…
Conservation Groups file lawsuit in Federal District Court to stop logging in Flathead National Forest
On a recent post Matt and I were discussing “frivolous” lawsuits. Matt correctly pointed out that a “frivolous lawsuit” is a legal term that could lead to disbarring of the lawyers and the case being thrown out of court. I suggested “misguided” may be a better characterization…and I’m sticking with that. Curious to see where others think this one falls.
Below are some excerpts from an AWR press release (I added emphasis in caps):
“Three conservation groups, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Wild Swan and Native Ecosystems Council filed a lawsuit on May 29th, 2012 in Federal District Court in Missoula against the U.S. Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to stop the Flathead National Forest’s PRE-COMMERCIAL THINNING Project. The Project authorizes LOGGING of 3,650 acres across the Flathead National Forest in areas occupied by the threatened grizzly bear, bull trout, Canada lynx and critical habitat for lynx and bull trout, and along the North Fork of the Flathead River, a Congressionally designated Wild and Scenic River corridor. The LOGGING project was also approved as a categorical exclusion, preventing further analysis of its environmental impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act. “
“Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies said, “The Flathead National Forest is moving ahead with this large LOGGING project in lynx and bull trout critical habitat without analyzing and disclosing the ecological impacts to the public.” “
“”The Forest Service is attempting to deregulate LOGGING from Congressional oversight and public participation…”
“Garrity concluded, “Congress requires the Forest Service to do three things when they plan massive TIMBER SALES, give the public an opportunity to participate in the decision, disclose to the public the potential impacts of the LOGGING, and give the public different alternatives to accomplish the purpose and need of the TIMBER SALE…”
So I was confused…is it a pre-commercial thinning project that cuts small trees to improve the health and vigor of the residual stand or is it a “timber sale” and “logging” project???
I consulted the dictionary:
the process, work, or business of cutting down trees and transporting the logs to sawmills.
to cut (trees) into logs: to log pine trees for fuel.
to cut down the trees or timber on (land): We logged the entire area in a week.
verb (used without object)
to cut down trees and get out logs from the forest for timber: to log for a living.
Then I consulted the decision:
(DM, pg. 2) “The areas included in this project do not contain trees of commercial size and will not produce merchantable wood products.” And “The diameter of the cut saplings/trees will range between 1” and 6” Diameter at Breast Height (DBH), with most of the cut stems being 2-4” DBH.”
Really??? PCT is “logging”??? That certainly stretches credibility and an interesting spin by Mr. Garrity. And he took offense to being called a “professional obstructionist.”
I sure hope his complaint didn’t characterize pre-commercial thinning as “logging”. One could argue that might be frivolous.
A copy of their appeal can be read here: