Two weeklies in two weeks!
The Forest Service summaries are here: NFS Litigation Weekly August 06 2021 FINAL
Sequoia ForestKeeper v. U.S. Forest Service (E.D. Cal.) — On July 23, the district court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order against the Plateau Roads Hazard Tree Project on the Sequoia National Forest because it inappropriately used the categorical exclusion for road maintenance, and the prior 9th Circuit EPIC case is controlling.
Washington State Snowmobile Association v. U.S. Forest Service (E.D. Wash.) — On July 27, plaintiffs filed a compliant alleging the Forest Service issued a special use permit to Wenatchee Mountain Alpine Huts, LLC to develop commercial winter lodging at the top of Van Epps Pass on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest without following appropriate NEPA procedures. The substantive issue appears to be whether the huts would pose a risk to public health and safety from avalanches and from increased interaction between motorized and non-motorized users as a result of the increased use of the area.
Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Moore (D. Mont.) – On July 26, the plaintiffs filed a complaint against the Greater Red Lodge Project on the Custer Gallatin National Forest. Issues include lynx habitat mapping, effects on lynx and compliance with the HFRA definition of WUI. The project was stopped in 2015 by a previous lawsuit. Here is some background, and here is plaintiffs’ perspective.
Court decision: Orr v. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (W.D. N.C.) – On July 22, the district court denied a stay pending appeal to the 4th Circuit in one of a series of cases against the French Broad Electric Membership Corporation’s planned spraying of herbicides on its right-of-way easements (apparently including national forest lands).
On July 22, the Center for Biological Diversity and Maricopa Audubon Society filed a notice of intent to sue the BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect critical (riparian) habitat for seven threatened and endangered species in the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area in southeastern Arizona based on documented cattle grazing damage. (The news release has a link to the NOI.)
On July 19, a coalition of ten environmental groups filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the state of Idaho over a new law that enables the year-around trapping of wolves on private property. They contend the expanded use of traps and snares to catch wolves also harms grizzly bears and lynx, in violation of ESA. The recorded interview also discusses a similar NOI in Montana against legalizing the use of snares (which would apply to national forests), as described here.