A federal district court judge has preliminary enjoined the Tongass’ largest timber sale because the Forest Service relied on “condition-based analysis” in its EIS. In addition to stopping logging, the court’s decision puts a wrench in the Forest Service’s proposal to add condition-based analysis to its NEPA rules.
Condition-based analysis treats acres as fungible; location doesn’t matter. From the Forest Service and timber industry’s perspective, a board foot may be a board foot, but for wildlife, recreation, scenery, and most everything else, location does matter: “the Project EIS does not identify individual harvest units; by only identifying broad areas within which harvest may occur, it does not fully explain to the public how or where actual timber activities will affect localized habitats.”
The decision stops logging until the court issues its final merits ruling, which is promised by March 31, 2020.