It seems like this is becoming more of a “litigation monthly” (maybe because the litigation business is slow?), but here’s what they’ve got: Litigation Weekly June 11 2021_Email
Conservation Congress v. U.S. Forest Service (E.D. Cal.). On May 17, the district court upheld the Pettijohn Project on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest concerning alleged impacts on the northern spotted owl under ESA, NEPA, HFRA and NFMA. A local story is here.
Gallatin Wildlife Association v. U.S. Forest Service (9th Cir.). On May 18, in a 4-page opinion, the 9th Circuit affirmed the District Court of Montana’s decision, which upheld the allotment management plans on 7 domestic sheep allotments, on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, and the Forest Service’s use of a coarse filter methodology in assessing the risk of domestic sheep grazing to bighorn sheep.
BAR K Ranch v. United States (D. Mont.). On May 10, in a quiet title action brought against the Forest Service and BLM, the district court granted the Forest Service’s motion that the several public and private rights-of-way over roads on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest constitute Forest Service roads.
Kettle Range Conservation Group v. U.S. Forest Service (E.D. Wash.) On May 12, the plaintiff filed a complaint concerning the Sanpoil Project on the Colville National Forest. The complaint alleges failure of the EA to include a meaningful (including site-specific) analysis of the impacts of timber harvests, controlled burns and road work within 47,956 acres of the Colville National Forest. Due to the proximity to tribal trust lands of the Colville Tribe, the project was proposed under the Tribal Forest Protection Act. Plaintiffs further challenge the Forest Service’s final decision approving the 2019 Colville Forest Plan, because it fails to protect old-growth trees from logging through projects such as the Sanpoil Project.
Klamath Forest Alliance v Blower (D. Or.). On May 21, the plaintiffs filed a complaint against the Slater Fire Safe Re-entry Project, after fires in 2020 on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, challenging the use of the road repair and maintenance CE for a project of this scope (along 85 miles of roadway). Additional claims under ESA may be added pending response to a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue.
On May 17, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a new Trump administration U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule requiring that affected states receive a 30-day notice of an intent to file a petition to list a species as endangered or threatened is inconsistent with the Endangered Species Act. The specifics of this case involve the Pryor Mountains on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. They also involve a petition to list a particular “Old-World Spanish genetic lineage” of wild horse, which the Fish and Wildlife Service rejected for failure to comply with this new requirement.
- Sage grouse
In February, the district court of Idaho overturned a Trump administration action to cancel a prior effort to ban mining and allow mining and other development on 10 million acres that are considered important for the survival of sage-grouse. In May the Biden administration announced it would consider a new ban.
- Flathead forest plan revision
On May 27, a hearing was held in the district court of Montana in the lawsuit against the revised Flathead National Forest Plan involving grizzly bears and bull trout. Local articles summarizing the hearing discussions are here, here, and here.