NFS Litigation “Weekly” February 14, 2020

Just for the record, the Smokey Wire received two “weeklies” in November, one in December and one in January, so if you saw these you haven’t missed any weeks.  I’ve supplemented that with some other litigation news in between (including some of these cases).

Here I’ve again provided a short summary of each case, and a longer summary is provided in this document:  Litigation Weekly February 14_2020_Final for emailThe bulleted links below are usually to court documents associated with the case and provided by the Forest Service.  


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled the district court and blocked the “Kids’ Climate Case” from proceeding due to lack of standing for judicial review.

The Northern District of California and the 9th Circuit court of appeals both denied motions for a preliminary injunction against the Ranch Fire projects on the Mendocino National Forest and a portion of the Berryessa-Snow Mountain National Monument.  (This case was included here.)

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld the District Court of Colorado’s decision on a case applying the Recreation Enhancement Act to recreation user fees for parking on the White River National Forest.  (We’ve also discussed this here.)

The Arizona District Court upheld the determination that the site of the proposed Rosemont Mine on the Coronado National Forest is critical jaguar habitat, and then invalidated the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion regarding the effects of the mine on several listed species.  (Additional information may be found in this article.)


Plaintiff has challenged continued livestock grazing of 30 allotments on the Apache-Sitgreaves and Gila National Forests without reinitiating consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the effects on eight listed species in riparian habitats.  (D. Ariz.)


Five different environmental groups are challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Biological Opinion for the effects on grizzly bears of the Upper Green River Area Rangeland Project that authorizes livestock grazing on the Bridger-Teton National Forest (including allowing the incidental take of 72 bears).

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council claim a violation of the Endangered Species Act regarding the effects on grizzly bears from the Elk Smith Project on the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest, as well as failure to consider wolverines (a species currently proposed for listing).

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, and the Yellowstone to Uintas Connection claim the decision by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest to authorize the Crow Creek Pipeline Project violates ESA by improperly analyzing Canada lynx and failing to consider three other listed species.  (This NOI described here.)


(No Forest Service summary.)  A case filed by a ranch and Idaho state officials was voluntarily dismissed because the BLM and Forest Service subsequently submitted the 2015 sage grouse plan amendment decisions to Congress in accordance with the Congressional Review Act.

The Idaho District Court denied a motion by the defendant mining company to stay this litigation while it negotiated with the EPA concerning water pollution.  This involves the Stibnite Gold Mine Project on the Payette National Forest.

The District Court for the District of Columbia remanded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list the northern long-eared bat as threatened back to the FWS to reconsider whether it should be listed as endangered.  (Also discussed here.)



The Alaska District Court recently heard arguments regarding these sales on Prince of Wales Island. A timber harvest, “might be right next door to you or they might be a hundred miles away,” an attorney for the plaintiffs said.

Four environmental groups dropped a lawsuit filed last summer when the BLM suspended two oil and gas leases after the lawsuit was filed.  The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs, said that the leased lands straddle the Little Colorado River and Silver Creek, home to two federally protected threatened species: the Little Colorado spinedace and the yellow-billed cuckoo, and are upstream from the largest remaining population of humpback chub in the Grand Canyon, and adjacent to the Petrified Forest National Park.


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