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