Sue and settle … for a study

This lawsuit involves two predator-killing poisons.  It doesn’t directly involve the Forest Service, although the chemicals are used on national forests.  But it is a recent example of what a lot of settlements look like – more analysis.

The 10-page agreement filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Montana requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete consultations with the Environmental Protection Agency by the end of 2021 on the two poisons used by federal workers on rural Western lands to protect livestock.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the other groups in the lawsuit filed last year in Montana say Fish and Wildlife is violating the Endangered Species Act by not analyzing with the EPA how sodium cyanide and Compound 1080 could harm federally protected species including grizzly bears and Canada lynx.

“The federal government needs to ban these deadly pesticides, but until then we’re hopeful the analysis spurred by our lawsuit will lead to common-sense measures to prevent unintended deaths,” Collette Adkins with the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement.

Evidently, in this case, the agencies can continue to use the chemicals while the study proceeds.


8 thoughts on “Sue and settle … for a study”

  1. I thought 1080 was banned, at least from use in NFS land. I can’t believe any FS Ranger would approve the use of 1080 at all. I even have a hard time with sodium cyanide unless targeted in the M-44 for problem coyotes. When I was a ranger I got “duped” into the need for a 1080 bait station. Something I now regret. I also allowed the use of coyote getters (pre M-44) when on the Aspen District (R2). Recreation users certainly were a higher priority used than the sheep rancher.

    The Forest Service should finally make a stand against the use of poisons unless monitored daily. We will look back someday and say why was this allowed.

  2. Ok fine maybe that’s in order. What about the region wide indiscriminate poisoning of animals with chemical that are not even approved for use in the US by illegal pot grows on public land. All the biologists I’ve spoken with say this is a much larger problem. I see very little progress being made on this problem that gets slightly more attention than lip service. We are splitting hairs about lawsuits while large scale natural resources are severely degraded. Where will the madness end??

    • I don’t think people are unaware of these.. it’s just that lawsuits won’t work to stop them. The only thing that will work is additional funding for law enforcement. Or maybe “the People’s drone force” to locate these so Law Enforcement can target them? Sounds potentially dangerous.

      We could ask someone we know at CBD why they haven’t targeted illegal marijuana grows in their efforts, but I don’t know anyone.

      • Sharon; “We could ask someone we know at CBD why they haven’t targeted illegal marijuana grows in their efforts, but I don’t know anyone.”

        Off hand I’d say there’s no money in it for them. Who would they sue ?

  3. Settling for more analysis was BAU When I Was Working For Money. One time the settlement involved more analysis of the next similar project!!! This satisfied the DOJ greatly, but the folks who had to do the now permanently increased level of analysis, not so much.

    More commonly it went like this..
    Round 1. Plaintiff claims “they did not analyze x” Judge 1 agrees tells FS to analyze it.
    – FS analyzes it
    Round 2. Plaintiff claims “they did not analyze x the right way”. Judge 2 agrees and tells the FS how to analyze it.
    – FS reanalyzes it the way Judge 2 says.
    Round 3 is difficult for plaintiffs because if the FS does what Judge 2 says, then Judge 3 is unlikely to decide on a new analysis. If plaintiffs bring up something else, Judge 3 says “why didn’t you mention it before?”. If anyone knows of a successful round 3 for plaintiffs, we would all be interested.

    Round 1 and 2 are where typically folks say “it’s a crapshoot” because different judges have different ideas of what should be analyzed and how. You can go in with something not so hot (according to DOJ) and win, and something great (according to DOJ) and lose.

    • I like that summary. When it’s about required procedures the government can always win, and plaintiffs can only hope that the government decides it’s not worth the effort or that something else changes the government’s mind.

      There is also a Step 0, which consists of the agency’s administrative process. That’s where potential plaintiffs have to tell the government what they plan to sue about, and if the government does the analysis plaintiffs ask for in the way that plaintiffs ask (and they are candid about the results), they won’t have to worry much about the litigation steps.

      • In my experience, plaintiffs want to delay until, as you, say something changes or people give up. So some do not give their preferred analysis until they have to (round 2.) . In fact, sometimes you have to wonder if that wouldn’t be their preferred analysis if the FS had picked it.


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