The Forest Service summaries are here: Litigation Weekly August 14 2020 Email
(There were no cases summarized last week.)
Related court documents are linked to each summary below.
In Environmental Protection Information Center v. Carlson, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction of the Ranch Fire Roadside Hazard Tree Project on the Mendocino National Forest. The court held that under no reasonable interpretation of the language of 36 C.F.R. § 220.6(d)(4) did the project come within the CE for “repair and maintenance” of roads. (A similar issue was addressed in Earth Island Institute v. Elliott, discussed here.)
Blogger’s note: The court made an interesting observation in weighing the interests for and against an injunction:
As Forest Supervisor Carlson points out in her declaration, revenue from the Project will allow the Forest Service to pay for the felling of such trees. This is a valid and important point, but we note the obvious: A budgetary system that requires the authorization of commercial salvage logging operations in order to finance work necessary for public safety can put the Forest Service in an awkward and conflicted position in deciding whether, and under what conditions, to authorize such operations.
I guess the point is that the Forest Service set up this system so they are responsible for any harm associated with it.
NOTICE OF INTENT
The Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) received a 60-day Notice of Intent by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Bitterroot to sue the agencies regarding the Gold Butterfly Project on the Bitterroot National Forest, stating that the project area is within the habitat of the grizzly bear, wolverine, and bull trout. (A complaint has already been filed regarding non-ESA issues, as described here for Friends of the Bitterroot v. Anderson.)