I’m still on vacation, but thought this worthy and timely to post..here is the link. It seems like this is the end of this but perhaps not.. lawyers can weigh in.
For those who are interested in the specific claims made and the details, the document gives a flavor of that, yet is relatively short. The details regarding the cumulative effects assertions by plaintiffs is mildly interesting.
Here’s a brief summary from an unnamed source, for the details on this blog you can search on “Colt Summit” in the search box.
The plaintiffs initially filed 12 counts in their original complaint. The Forest Service prevailed on 11 of those counts. The one count on which they lost was that of cumulative impacts to lynx. The Forest Service repackaged the cumulative impacts analysis they had already completed into a “supplement to the environmental assessment.” Judge Molloy ruled that this document was not a NEPA document, and thus it was not sufficient to lift the injunction. So the Forest Service repackaged the information again into a “supplemental environmental assessment” and submitted that to the Court in December 2013 along with a motion requesting that the injunction against work on the Project be lifted. Today’s order by Judge Molloy is in response to this latest motion by the Forest Service.
Below are a couple of excerpts:
“Plaintiffs claim that, although the Forest Service provides useful information, there is “no analysis of the total, combined impacts.” (Doc. 74 at 1.) However, Plaintiffs ignore the lengthy discussion and summary table of cumulative impacts in the SEA. X-001:FS78942-78982; specifically X-001:FS78964-78967 (Table 22 is the cumulative effects table Plaintiffs argue insufficient) X-OOI :FS78967-78980 (discussion following the table that explains the underlying analysis used in creating the summary table). Plaintiffs insist there is no analysis of the total combined impacts, as the bullet-point list summarizing the cumulative analysis focuses only on the impacts of the Colt Summit Project rather than outlining an aggregate analysis. X-OOI :FS78981. However, the table and the overall summary are supported by hundreds of pages of data, as well as fifteen pages of a cumulative effects analysis.” – page 9
“Even though Plaintiffs do not like the result of the Forest Service’s aggregate cumulative analysis, NEPA does not require specific outcomes, but only provides the process that agencies should use in order to take a “hard look” at a project’s impacts. The requisite “hard look” was taken here.” – page 14