Lawsuit could be filed to try to stop sale of leases in national forest

An article in The Daily Home reports:

The Southern Environmental Law Center has announced that it intends to sue the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service for violation of the Endangered Species Act if it goes forward with the sale of leases in the Talladega National Forest to oil and gas drilling interests.

The suit is being brought on behalf of Wildsouth and the National Resource Defense Council, as well as SELC.  The suit was prompted by the announcement that the BLM was planning to sell 36 parcels of national forest land totaling 43,038.3 acres, mostly in the Talladega National Forest. The sale is set for June 14.

The suit claims that the BLM and Forest Service “both failed to complete consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the lease sale in light of information concerning newly listed species, newly designated critical habitat, recently discovered presence of new species and new impacts of drilling on these species and habitats.”

Click here to read Chris Norwood’s entire story.

UPDATE:  It’s being reported this afternoon that “The Bureau of Land Management will not auction leases to explore for gas and oil in 43,000 acres of the national forest land in Alabama. For now.”

3 thoughts on “Lawsuit could be filed to try to stop sale of leases in national forest”

  1. I found one line in the article a bit misleading since it makes it seem that parcels of land rather than leases would be sold. Anyway, if SELC decides to proceed, I would say that the odds are good that they will win. Sounds like there might be NEPA shortcomings as well. This is the sort of litigation that many Forest Service employees secretly hope for. Officially, they have to support the leases. This is a big workload, though that is not adequately funded, for projects that potentially harm the environment. Also, the local units do not directly share in the revenues.

    What’s fascinating is that many Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service employees rant about groups like the SELC even when the suits they bring often force changes in policy that these same employees have wanted to see.

  2. “National” Resource Defense Council (actually “Natural”) has all the Freudian slippage and Orwellian Newspeak apropos to the occasion. Violating laws in order to be selling leases to extract finite resources in the name of national defense and prosperity for all, while the associated carbon emissions of the fossil fuels are well-recognized by our Department of Defense to be a direct threat to national security.

  3. I think it’s interesting that it has been OK to do all kinds of oil and gas in the west, but when it comes to the midwest and the south it is really bad.

    I wonder what that’s about…history and experience with that use? We know that forest products and prescribed burning are less controversial in the SE.

    Jim, I think sometimes people at environmental groups can treat people in the FS disrespectfully whether in writing or on the phone. One of my former employees retired because of the treatment she received from such a person. That’s why it’s sometimes easy to agree with an organization’s stance on a specific policy issue but to not respect a specific group that advocates that position. Ends and means and all that.


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