NFS Litigation Weekly July 10, 2019


Forest Service summaries:  2019_07_10_Draftv1 for distribution


The District Court of Oregon denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against a ten-year grazing permit on the Antelope Allotment on the Fremont-Winema National Forest.  This case was previously discussed here.


A complaint was filed in the District Court of Idaho concerning the Rowley Canyon Wildlife Enhancement Project on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.  Here’s the viewpoint of plaintiff Alliance for the Wild Rockies.


The Alliance of the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystem Council filed a Notice of Intent to Sue under the Endangered Species Act regarding the Willow Creek Vegetation Management Project on the Helena – Lewis and Clark National Forest.  A complaint addressing other issues was filed previously and included here.


A complaint was filed in the District Court of Colorado concerning BLM’s decision to approve the West Elk Mine expansion underlying roadless lands in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.  The Forest Summary includes a 2013 complaint for a “related case:”  000004_High Country Conservative Advocates et al v US FS et al_Region 2  .  More information is provided in this article.



Plaintiffs in the Friends of the Crazy Mountains case have moved for a preliminary injunction against construction of a new trail.  This case was discussed here.

The Forest Service has sued the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for causing the 416 Fire and causing $25 million in damages to federal lands.  This article provides a good description of how these cases work.

Environmental plaintiffs followed through on their Notice of Intent to Sue the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to respond to their petition to list the Siskiyou Mountain salamander, found on federal lands in Oregon, which was discussed here.

The Center for Biological Diversity has sued the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to update its recovery plan for grizzly bears and consider reintroducing them in additional areas of former habitat, as described here.

The Forest Service was providing summaries of the “climate kids” case, officially known as Juliana v. U. S.  A hearing was held before the Ninth Circuit in June in the latest move by the federal government to dismiss the case.  Here are two recent views of the case, one from one of my (notably libertarian) law professors, and another from “60 Minutes.”

7 thoughts on “NFS Litigation Weekly July 10, 2019”

  1. ESA is confusing to me (or perhaps some folks’ interpretation).

    She says reintroducing bears to parts of their former range is a crucial step toward recovering them under the Endangered Species Act, and potentially could triple the grizzly population in the lower 48 states.

    Does recovery actually mean that they have to live everywhere they used to live? Isn’t a species recovered if there are enough of them to not go extinct (and their range is naturally increasing?).

  2. Yep, if we could re-introduce grizzlies to Yosemite, there would be no need for a reservation system in Yosemite Valley. We’d probably see more children on leashes, too. Big Bear would be easy pickins for breaking into vacation homes. Tahoe would become Vacationland for bears, too. (I mean it’s always described as being soooooo “pristine”! Bears would LOVE it!)

    Did I mention how much bears like swimming pools in the LA Basin WUI? Will ….err….. intellectually-challenged… humans be able to co-exist with hungry omnivores? I doubt it. Will rural residents shoot bears on sight? Probably. How many human deaths per year is ‘acceptable’, under this plan? Will there be full NEPA?

    This is just another aspect of people wanting something that can never be. The desire to have pre-human habitats is irrational, and impossible to ‘create’. (See how ridiculous that sounds?)

  3. From CBD: “What we want is the analysis. We want them to pull together the team of people to take a look at it because they said they would and it’s the only way to really recover the species.” This would presumably look at questions like those Larry is bringing up.

    They don’t appear to be arguing that grizzly bears “have to live everywhere they used to live.” The ESA requirement for listing/delisting is endangered or likely to become so “throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” That phrase is currently being debated, and the listing agencies have proposed a rule that would define it. In relation to wolves, an open letter from scientists (provided by CBD) states: “Recovery requires a species to be broadly distributed throughout portions of its historic range (citing numerous sources) … Some have argued that this view of recovery requires a species to occupy all of its former range. The explanation offered above indicates this plainly not true. Moreover, no one working to better understand the legal meaning of recovery has ever suggested this to be the case.”

    Even if recovery just means no longer in danger of extinction, the best available science may show that the four existing populations or even the six existing recovery areas don’t adequately reduce the risk to that point. (And the existing recovery plan is quite old.)

    • I think it would be easier to re-establish redwoods and giant sequoias to their former ranges. *smirk* The political ramifications would prevent such re-introductions. Formal analysis should identify those intractable problems first, ruling out places on a State by State basis. I’m sure it could be predicted which States would reject such plans, outright. There would also be injunctions and litigation against States that do pursue grizzlies. The anti wolf people will also be anti-grizzly.

      • But giant sequoia “once flourished throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and their ancestors towered above the dinosaurs,” according to Tom Bonnicksen’s excellent America’s Ancient Forests.

        • Steve Wilent: – “But giant sequoia “once flourished throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and their ancestors towered above the dinosaurs,” according to Tom Bonnicksen’s excellent America’s Ancient Forests.”

          This is almost like Allan Savory back in 2015 saying that Torrey Pines State Reserve needs cattle grazing the park in order to reverse the degradation caused by oxidation (whatever that meant) which the vegetation was displaying. Of course this was caused by the mega-drought, but his argument was that 200,000 years ago the fossil record showed there were millions of grazers there, some mega-fauna browsers and their absence has caused the degradation, not drought.


    • John Haber: – “the best available science”

      I’m curious, what does that even mean really ??? Is it merely a science perspective that simply agrees with your personal sentiment on a topic ??? I mean let’s be honest, this world’s prevailing science has brought all mankind “Climate Change” over the past 100+ years. Can science in general really be trusted and is it superior to just plain common sense ???


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