Forest Service rejects timber group’s challenge on Black Hills: Greenwire

An area that was logged in recent years is seen in the Black Hills National Forest in July 2021, near Custer, S.D. Matthew Brown/AP Photo


Here’s a link to the story by Marc Heller.


Excerpt below:

Among other responses, the Forest Service rejected the association’s complaint that it had ignored years of data on sawtimber growth rates. The agency also countered the association’s assertion that it had wrongly excluded white spruce trees from harvest projections, saying the Forest Service research team’s task was to estimate the predominant timber on the forest, which is ponderosa pine.

In all, the agency’s 29-page response addressed six requests for corrections, plus additional points within those requests. The Black Hills Forest Resource Association could appeal and is looking into further legal action, said Ben Wudtke, the group’s executive director.

The timber association had filed the challenge under the federal Data Quality Act, sometimes called the Information Quality Act. It had said the Forest Service overlooked information provided by the industry that would contradict agency researchers (Greenwire, Nov. 24, 2021).

The technical report by the Rocky Mountain Research Station, released last March, recommended reducing the annual timber harvest goal from 18.1 million cubic feet to between 7.24 million and 9.05 million cubic feet, allowing the forest to regenerate so that timber goals could again be raised.

More information on the challenge and the Data Quality Act can be found in this story from last fall, also by Marc Heller.

6 thoughts on “Forest Service rejects timber group’s challenge on Black Hills: Greenwire”

  1. Below is Black Hills national forest volume sold (hundred cubic feet) since 2010.

    2010: 194,312.47
    2011: 197,598.80
    2012: 240,250.63
    2013: 203,082.69
    2014: 187,614.34
    2015: 206,156.89
    2016: 214,362.75
    2017: 199,785.91
    2018: 212,422.64
    2019: 173,135.74
    2020: 125,418.42
    2021: 141,767.48

    Maybe Black Hills timber purchasers will have better luck with a Democrat in the White House? 🙂

  2. The Biden administration has since restored the NEPA rules Republicans like South Dakota’s John Thune and Wyoming’s John Barrasso want to suspend. So, as expected, Hulett, Wyoming-based Neiman Enterprises could enjoy the fruits of socialism as the two Republican US Senators introduce a bill to inject taxpayer dollars into the Black Hills timber monopoly. They call the bill, the “Black Hills Forest Protection and Jobs Preservation Act of 2022.”

    The proposed Chimera project is over 54,000 acres.

  3. Just to be clear, the Biden administration has NOT restored the 1978 NEPA regulations. The 2020 Trump rule remains in effect.

  4. It is hard to estimate what it will take for the Black Hills timber industry to accept the reality of the situation. Don’t want to believe something? No problem, just come up with your own truth, that continually gets debunked. There is no longer such a thing as objective truth. Come up with baloney and someone will believe it (in this case, politicians).

    So ENGO’s are often maligned because they file lawsuits. There has not been a lawsuit filed on the Black Hills NF timber program, even though some could argue that there are grounds for one. Now the timber industry is contemplating their legal options in order to keep overcutting public timber. How about them apples?

    • Dave- it seems to me that lawsuits have their place in pursuing policy options. But you raise an interesting point.. what are the most annoying ones, and to whom, and why are they annoyed? Perhaps we need to explore that further.


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