According to a US court, the BLM has not met the requirements of the O&C Act regarding timber sales on the O&C lands it manages in Oregon:
Under the O&C Act, “[t]he annual productive capacity for such lands shall be determined and declared … [and] timber from said lands in an amount not less than one-half billion feet board measure, or not less than the annual sustained yield capacity when the same has been determined and declared, shall be sold annually, or so much thereof as can be sold at reasonable prices on a normal market.” 43 U.S.C. § 1181a (emphasis added). The use of “shall” creates a mandatory obligation on the actor-in this case, BLM-to perform the specified action.
Thus, the language of this statute conveys a clear requirement: once BLM declares an annual sustained yield capacity, it must sell that amount or so much thereof as can be sold at reasonable prices on a normal market.
The Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 does not have a numerical mandate. It states, in part:
‘‘Sustained yield of the several products and services’’ means the achievement and maintenance in perpetuity of a high-level annual or regular periodic output of the various renewable resources of the national forests without impairment of the productivity of the land.
Would a court be likely to rule that the US Forest Service has maintained “a high-level annual or regular periodic output of the various renewable resources”? How would a court interpret “high-level”?