10 thoughts on “A conversation with Forest Service Chief Randy Moore”

  1. Interesting that the Chief refers to “undermanagement” and not to the forced removal of indigenous people and their burning and land stewardship practices – it has been a big step forward to hear that acknowledged in some presentations lately.

  2. “Evergreen: NEPA related forest planning has become a billion dollar business model for serial litigators who sue on process, not whether your plans actually pose environmental risks. Years of litigation involving unfounded claims regarding degradation of fish and wildlife habitat will continue …”

    Well, most of the NEPA cases I’ve looked at that the Forest Service has lost (and many they won) had something to do with actual well-founded environmental risks. (This kind of inflammatory nonsense is why I would discount anything you hear from Evergreen.)

    “Moore: I don’t believe the judicial system will ever deny the American public the right to challenge public agencies and the decisions they make, and nor should they.”

    • “Well-founded environmental risks” based on who’s science?
      The same ones litigating? The same ones who use pay-to-play journals? (MDPI is on no notice and its business model stating to fail).

      • I only have to go back to the last litigation update to find a good example. It’s ESA rather than NEPA, but the Forest Service lost the Kootenai Knotty Pine case because it ignored its OWN science when it failed to consider the effects of illegal road use on grizzly bears – a well-founded environmental risk. The court said: “Claiming a total inability to ascertain, or even estimate, effects of unauthorized motorized use on OMRD, TMRD, and Core—and, by extension, the effects on grizzly bears—despite the evidence in the record supplied by both USFS and third parties does not suffice.”

        • One example, from one region?
          Aren’t claims, both what you stated above, and what serial litigators claim, supposed to be backed by peer reviewed, reproduced/reproducible science?

          “Well, most of the NEPA cases I’ve looked at that the Forest Service has lost (and many they won) had something to do with actual well-founded environmental risks. (This kind of inflammatory nonsense is why I would discount anything you hear from Evergreen.)”

          ‘Most’ means you have one anecdotal case study? Or more? Statistically significantly more? Or just more feelings on “process” and “planning”?

          Funny how when the USFS does research and science that is convenient for litigators etc., it is referenced, but other times, it is written off as “They’re paid by the timber industry to write that”. Don’t try to blow off that sentiment as anything else but a fact. We constantly see from the enviro-litigator-advocacy-agenda side that Stephens, North, Safford, Steel, etc are all “paid by timber” and their science is bunk. Yet, Hanson DellSala, Law, Harmon, etc get a free pass, and their funding/motives never questioned?
          Let’s face the facts. A system was created that does not place science and reality in the forefront, as much as an ability to challenge things on paper.

          And no, a staged/highly planned photo does not county (especially when it is not on Fed ground, but instead on private timberland……….or in a landing………or in a part of the landscape that is 0.1% of an entire forest).

          • “One example, from one region?”

            At the risk of self-promotion, here’s a partial list of the cases that I have helped win against the Forest Service:

            Seattle Audubon Society v. Lyons, 798 F.Supp. 1473 (W.D. Wash. 1992), aff’d ___ F.2d ___ (9th Cir. 1993) (Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to adequately consider effects on old-growth dependent species from logging);

            Idaho Conservation League v. Mumma, 956 F.2d 1508 (9th Cir. 1992) (Environmental plaintiffs have standing to sue on programmatic land use plan);

            Seattle Audubon Society v. Evans, 771 F.Supp. 1081 (W.D.Wash. 1991), aff’d, 952 F.2d 297 (9th Cir. 1991) (Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to disclose risks and uncertainties to spotted owl survival from logging old-growth forests);

            Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Mohla, 895 F.2d 627 (9th Cir. 1990);
            Washington Department of Wildlife v. Stubblefield, 739 F.Supp. 1428 (W.D.Wash. 1989) (Forest Service cancelled already sold timber sale that would harm spotted owl habitat);

            Pilchuck Audubon Society v. MacWilliams, 19 ELR 20526 (W.D.Wash. 1988) (Forest Service violated NFMA by failing to conform defaulted timber sale to new standards before resale);

            Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Grossarth, 979 F.2d 1377 (9th Cir. 1992) (Forest Service withdrew timber sale in roadless area);

            National Wildlife Federation v. U.S. Forest Service, 592 F.Supp. 931 (D.Or. 1984) (Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to assess cumulative impacts and mitigation effectiveness uncertainties from logging landslide-prone forests);

            Thomas v. Peterson, 753 F.2d 754 (9th Cir. 1985) (Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to assess connected roading and logging actions and violated ESA by failing to prepare biological assessment to evaluate effects of logging on threatened wolf);

            Sierra Club v. U.S. Forest Service, 843 F.2d 1190 (9th Cir. 1988) (Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to assess cumulative impact of logging giant Sequoia);

            Smith v. U.S. Forest Service, Civ. No. CS-93-178-JLQ (E.D.Wash. 1993) (Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to assess uninventoried roadless area prior to logging);

            Clean Air Yakima v. O’Neal, Civ. No. CY-90-3048-AAM (E.D.Wash.) (Forest Service violated NEPA by failing to assess indirect air quality impacts from firewood sales);

            Save Chelan Alliance v. U.S. Forest Service, Civ. No. C92-0250 (E.D.Wash.) (Forest Service withdrew plan to log in scenic Lake Chelan basin);

            Oregon Nordic Club v. Mohla, Civ. No. 88-967-RE (D.Ore.) (Forest Service withdrew timber sale that would degrade cross-country ski trail);

            Moyer v. Washington State, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 893 (9th Cir., 1997) (FTCA foreclosed damages against government in wrongful death case where Forest Service managed scenic highway corridor for spotted owl habitat);

            Libershal v. U.S. Forest Service, CV02-8042-DSF (Order of June 4, 2004) (Forest Service violated NFMA and NEPA by opening road to OHV use that was closed under forest plan);

            FSEEE. v. U.S. Forest Service, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90884 (D. Alaska 2006) (Forest Service violated NEPA by building logging roads before deciding whether to cut the timber the roads accessed);

            High Sierra Hikers Ass’n v. Blackwell, 390 F.3d 630 (9th Cir. Cal. 2004) (Forest Service violated Wilderness Act by failing to limit commercial packing to only that amount necessary to realize the wilderness purposes);

            FSEEE v. United States Forest Service, 689 F. Supp. 2d 891 (W.D. Ky. 2010) (Forest Service may not delegate its special-use permitting authority to non-governmental organization);

            FSEEE v. U.S. Forest Service, 397 F. Supp. 2d 1241 (D. Mont. 2005) (Forest Service violated NEPA and ESA in its use of toxic chemical fire retardant to fight forest fires);

            FSEEE v. United States Forest Service, 726 F. Supp. 2d 1195 (D. Mont. 2010) (Forest Service violated NEPA and regulatory agencies violated ESA in permitting use of aerial fire retardant);

            FSEEE v. United States Forest Service, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15568 (D. Or. Aug. 3, 2004) (Forest Service violated NFMA by allowing timber purchasers to select trees to log);

            Forest Serv. Emples. for Envtl. Ethics v. United States Forest Serv., 277 Fed. Appx. 681 (9th Cir. Or. 2008) (FS employees, not private contractor, required to mark trees before logging);

            League of Wilderness Defenders-Blue Mts. Biodiversity Project v. Smith, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16847 (D. Or. Mar. 23, 2006) (FS violated NFMA by cutting “live” trees);

            Wildlands v. Warnack, 570 F. Supp. 3d 983 (D. Or. 2021) (FS withdrew logging along hundreds of miles of roads after preliminary injunction order found plaintiffs likely to prevail on NEPA).

          • My point was that it’s easy to find examples of cases based on well-founded environmental risks. (Andy maybe made that point better.) Feel free to provide an example of where that isn’t true.

  3. Who gets paid when the Forest Service loses a case like this?

    I enjoyed the part where the Forest Service is expected to exercise their expertise when accounting for illegal road use and the effect that would have on the Griz. It’s like the FS is a cash pinata and all you need to do is sue them because someone else breaks the law and they didn’t plan for it. How about these groups that claim to care about endangered species go after the illegal road users? You know…. the people actually responsible for what the FS will be sued for. They might not have enough cash to pay for the lawyers solid upper middle class lifestyle but if there is anyone to blame, it’s them.

    Good thing the FS is flush with cash. They are going to need it going forward as they are blamed for everything that goes wrong as well as what could go wrong.

    • Sad but true…the old “when you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail” effect. When your livelihood depends on finding environmental “destruction,” you’ll find more of it…just like a forester paid by the MBF finds it where he can.

  4. It’s great that Chief Moore provided this interview. That said, it’s unfortunate that he refused to be interviewed by 60 Minutes when it did a story on the Caldor Fire (Eldorado National Forest). One could argue that when a public agency is approached by an experienced, established, credible group of journalists like those at 60 minutes, the taxpayers deserve an interview.


Leave a Comment