Lawsuit against logging designated under Farm Bill

You knew t his was just a matter of time….

Conservation groups file first lawsuit against logging designated under Farm Bill

Two conservation groups made the first legal challenge to a logging operation excluded from environmental analysis and public review under the 2014 Farm Bill.

On Thursday, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Missoula to stop the Rendezvous Trails timber sale near West Yellowstone. The sale calls for logging 250 acres of lodgepole pine on the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park.

11 thoughts on “Lawsuit against logging designated under Farm Bill”

  1. Be sure to read the article to get the full effect of polarization and namecalling, folks. Yep, someone had to challenge the newest, latest and greatest hope to manage our Forests. We knew, going in, that one Forest or another would be pushing for maximum timber volumes, using the new rules. (Not saying this is the case, here)

    • Larry, I know two of the three yappers here. One well, one met once (enough). The enviro groups here are a tag team, they litigate everything. Sara Jane was fired from USFS, she was a bird biologist on the Gallatin with a bad, bad case of affinity disease. So she now owns a campground at Three Forks and spends the off season preparing litigation, so off the wall that she can’t get her “nonprofit” funded.
      EVERY project seems to meet litigation from AWR and NEC. So, I can understand Keith Olson’s snark. I feel the same way having watched the USFS spiral into paralysis while the forest stampedes off through time over a cliff.
      Oh, do you want me to go off about the timber sale I just looked at last week, a little nibble like the Georgia project, where we had to run a brushed over road the long way around because the bridge at the smart end (where the hauls used to go) was yanked for G-bears? And all the jumps point the wrong way? Completely irrational policy, makes me plumb sick at the utter waste and stupidity.
      So there.

      • “utter waste and stupidity,,, completely irrational” pretty much sums it up. Not to be calling names at the Forest Service, but sure has been my experience of late.

  2. I have been following y’all since the MN SAF meeting this last winter. I really appreciate all the information this group brings forth and the opinions presented. I had a very weak background in all things USFS before and now my eyes are opened a bit wider. This is an amazing group of people and I can only try to fathom the struggles you have been though. I have such a hard time understanding why it is so difficult to practice good, scientific, forestry in this day and age and the continual resistance that meets us at every fork in the path. I am very curious as to what this group’s belief as to what a way forward would or could be. The lawsuits and litigation is literally killing endangered species, the ecosystems that support them and all things that we love about forest communities… and some we don’t. It is costing us as US Citizens billion more in fire control and lack of good management. What is the true monetary value of a species soon to be listed as endangered, Northern Long Eared Bat for instance and whom should decide that? What if good forestry practices up till now has created a good ecosystem and the species is doomed from forces out side of our control? Namely White Nose Syndrome… Thoughts. Respectfully Submitted, Nicholas Rickaby.

    • Welcome, Nicholas! You’ll see that only a few pure “preservationists” want to discuss and “collaborate” here. Of course, this is a pro-management blog but, management can take so many different forms. It seems that is where most of our arguments come from. Some people are attacking “Forestry”, itself, wanting to re-write the last millennium’s textbooks to fit their narrow view of the forested world. Others simply want to ride the litigation train until it runs out of tracks, using the complicated tangle of rules, laws and policies to tie up the Forest Service. Add to that a Congress who won’t do much of anything together, and you have a rudderless ship, tossed about on the waves of partisan politics, with a new broken compass every 4 to 8 years.

      It takes time for the three “C-words” to work their magic. Some people want to bypass parts of that process, hindering our efforts further. There is no substitute for consensus, on the way to compromise.

    • Nicholas

      Some of us are strongly in your camp.

      Others not so much. In fact if you search for previous discussions or hang around for discussions on the need for sound forest management, you will quickly find out that many here have no respect for the long established and operationally validated science behind sound forest management. You will note that they are willing to commit all kinds of logical inconsistencies to avoid the truth. You will find many who are completely uneducated in forest ecosystems and their components who believe ignorant mantras based on faux science and would rather preserve their pride than even begin to look at their failures and consider that they might be wrong. They can’t conceive of the idea that, in the long term, their ignorance and wishful thinking will destroy the very thing that they are trying to save. In short you will find out “why it is so difficult to practice good, scientific, forestry in this day and age and the continual resistance that meets us at every fork in the path”.

      Re: “I am very curious as to what this group’s belief as to what a way forward would or could be”
      –> This group has no way forward. Many of us have proposed ways forward where the resilience of forests allows for compromises but the answer is always the same – No Compromises. The beliefs of those opposed to sound forest management (TOTSFM) seems to fall into two camps: 1) those who believe that mankind can only mess things up and therefore “Hands Off” is the only acceptable policy or 2) those who believe that any remote “possibility” proclaimed by anyone must be considered and analyzed until certainty can be arrived at which ends up leading to analysis paralysis and the same “Hands Off” policy. Unfortunately many uninformed individuals and a good number of “ologists” specializing in components of the forest ecosystem provide plenty of “Maybe”, “Could”, “Might” and “Possible” suppositions to fuel the analysis paralysis. Then you have the “ologists” who don’t understand that if you try to focus in on saving one minor component of the forest you run a very large risk of destroying the very forest ecosystem in all of it various stages of succession and thereby put even more species at risk by creating gaps in succession. One such example is the NSO recovery plan which was based on admitted supposition by ornithologists rather than sound science. The faux science exposed by the failure of the original NSO recovery plan means nothing to TOTSFM so now we have a new recovery plan with another >$100,000,000 committed with the main hope being the shooting of a cousin of the NSO which is replacing the NSO as a natural process of evolution. Wishful thinking rules over science. People don’t want change in their lifetime and really don’t care about the long term consequences as long as their recreational areas and viewsheds aren’t disturbed (i.e. science be damned).

      • Larry and Gil,

        From what I am gathering is a strong public education program is the most important way forward. I have taken the first steps in educating the public myself. First I work for two power co-ops and can write newsletter articles. I carry with me a labeled specimen of EAB and often use this as a talking point, approved by Jana Albers from MN DNR. I pass out 3 ISA publications one Great River Energy publication “the right tree” and a variety of free pamphlets obtained for free. I have also paid to be a founding member of and have created causes labeled with ARBORCULTURE, INVASIVESMN, FORESTRY, FIREWISE, SILVICULTURE, and TIMBER. I sometimes pass information I get from y’all on this medium. Maybe a group that counter sues the USFS for indecision or improper forestry management would be in order so that they are getting sued regardless and the court can decided “with scientific evidence” whom is correct in their assumptions. If anyone would like an invite to please send me an email at [email protected]. Galt is still in its infancy but soon enough there should be some more features and I would expect influence. Thoughts, comments, requests? Any way I can help any article I can submit or newsletter I can write. I am willing and able to help in my own small piece of the puzzle. PS: I often identify tree insect and disease issues for members to include Rhizosphaera, Diplodia, Bark Beetles, Wood Borers, ect. Still applying for forestry jobs and got a 90% rating for Saint Louis County MN.

        Nicholas Rickaby

        • NicholasR

          Congratulations on your industrious efforts to help the cause of sound forest management. Your outreach efforts are very important in your search for a job. Until you land that job, who you know can be more important than what you know. Networking has to be your number one priority in your job search. Networking is far more effective than mass mailing or responding to job adds of any kind. Yes, you still need to chase down job adds but when push comes to shove, networking is generally more effective than trolling the web or newspapers for job adds. BTW, I found that the SAF and the University of Georgia’s forest job opportunities web sites are the best place to look for forestry jobs anywhere in the US. Your outreach efforts would seem to provide you with an excellent platform for networking so keep at it. It will pay off.

          Be aware of any other opportunities that arise that might be just as interesting to you that pay better. As Larry can tell you, you have to really love forestry to put up with the low pay and ups and downs of employment. Unless you are a stellar performer and are politically savvy, the odds of moving up the ladder can be severely limited. Even industry is prone to limit the number of college trained foresters to a select few to groom to replace advancing and retiring professionals. Sharp, woods savvy, trainable non professionals are often hired for the grunt jobs with more limited opportunity for advancement and higher probability of layoff during the downturns. But a surprising number of them climb pretty high on the ladder. I know too many people who never got to put their forestry education to use in the forestry profession so you’ve got to keep on doing what you are doing, get smarter at it every day and not loose the enthusiasm that you so obviously have.

          As to your comments about educating the public, that is an important first step and a great networking opportunity. If you can participate in SAF meetings and efforts like project learning tree, you will be making another big step in educating the public and increasing your networking opportunities. Keep at it, don’t get discouraged. Where there is a will, there is a way.

          In regard to your thought that “Maybe a group that counter sues the USFS for indecision or improper forestry management would be in order so that they are getting sued regardless and the court can decided “with scientific evidence” whom is correct in their assumptions” doesn’t seem like a fruitful idea to me but who knows, I might be dead wrong. My thoughts are in the minority here and appear to be scoffed at by the upper ranks of the SAF. Never the less, I still think that there is only way to deal with those who are willing to use falsehoods and intimidation tactics to negate educational efforts counter to their mantras and are willing to use false mantras combined with peer pressure scoffing at anyone who would dare question those mantras. Such tactics are used to increase their voting block and financial resources. In my humble opinion, after 40 plus years of observing their actions, such people only fear being exposed for the charlatans that they are and loosing face and power. Unfortunately intimidation unrestrained by the truth seems to be a very effective tool. Instead, I believe that using the truth to expose their falsehoods to the general public in a direct public rebuttal by a large group of professional foresters that is picked up as news and reduces them to laughing stocks each and every time that they use the news to make an unfounded claim is the only tool that will peel away their voter blocks and reduce their financial power to veto sound science through the courts. Unfortunately, the SAF doesn’t seem to agree with the approach or is too conflicted in its member’s beliefs and doesn’t want to create any debate that might loose any of the few remaining members that they have or, perhaps they don’t want to take any politically incorrect positions that might incur the wrath of certain political powers. I’m at a loss until another light bulb comes on. 🙂

          I wish you the best in your efforts to find employment that will fill you with joy for the rest of your life.

  3. Two things stand out about this whole affair.

    What’s funny …is my old boss clearcut this very area back in the late 50’s. In fact around 80% of the treatments in this “timber sale” are in units that were clearcut back in the 50’s and 60’s. I would imagine that the USFS pre-commercial thinned some of them back in the 80’s…and it is possible for PCT lodgepole to squeak out a 7″ DBH in 50 years…and since the Northern Region is obviously in the business to sell only “non-saw”…this would be par for the course.

    The second thing that stands out…is this is West Yellowstone’s premier “Nordic x-country” ski area. Out of the 6 comments the USFS received…4 were from the usual suspects and only 2 were from Citizens concerned about the aesthetics. Strange that there isn’t more local opposition to this industrial logging on their ski area-LOL. Soooooo once again, we have another “timber sale” designed to enhance and preserve a popular recreational area from the scourge of MPB and wildfire that has the support of the local community…being litigated. Not a great way to win friends amongst the pragmatic green set. Hilarious.

    • Clearcutting LODGEPOLE? Whodathunk?
      Interesting on the comments, Derek, it’s the awshytes versus attaboys syndrome. First, it’s not really rational for the average Joe to comment on something they support, so average Joes don’t unless they are irritated and therefore motivated. Assent through silence, basically. And no motivation or reward for positive reinforcement. You have to wonder if that had a long-term corrosive effect on USFS attitudes toward management, when all they hear is criticism. Or NO.


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