The Western Environmental Law Center, on behalf of Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Oregon Wild, filed a motion today in federal district Court in Washington D.C. to fight a lawsuit that aims to drastically limit the use of science to help manage our national forests.
Led by the timber industry, a coalition of industry groups filed suit on August 31 to challenge the new planning rule for the national forest system, designed provide for sustainable management of 193 million acres of national forests across the country. The purpose of the industry group’s lawsuit is to prevent the Forest Service from using “best available science” and ecosystem management tools to guide decisions affecting national forests, and to prohibit the agency from maintaining “viable populations” of wildlife, among other legal claims.
Conservation groups are seeking to intervene in this lawsuit in order to ensure the use of sound science in decisions affecting the public’s air and water, and our children’s natural heritage.
“These industry groups have a scary vision for our national forest,” stated Joseph Vaile, Program Director for the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild) an Oregon-based conservation organization. “Never before have we seen extraction industries so clearly state that they oppose the use of science on our National Forests. Through this suit these groups hope the keys to our national forests are handed over to private industry so they can be turned into private tree-farms for their own benefit.”
“It comes as no surprise that the timber industry would like to see our National Forests managed for logging but it becomes truly bizarre when the timber industry must argue against science and in favor of crony capitalism in order to achieve their desired result,” said Doug Heiken, Conservation and Restoration Coordinator for Oregon Wild, another organization intervening.
Pete Frost, attorney for the conservation groups, stated, “This lawsuit, if successful, could effectively ban conservation biology as a basis to help craft how we manage our national forests. It is a throw-back to when only logging, grazing, and mining mattered.”