Sierra Club wins “healthy forests” challenge
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
December 7, 2007
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the U.S. Forest Service erred when it conducted logging projects nationwide without prior analysis of their effects on the environment.
Sierra Club and Sierra Forest Legacy (formerly named Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign) filed the suit in October 2004 challenging the Bush Administration's "Healthy Forest Initiative" rule that eliminated a 30-year-old Forest Service practice of analyzing the environmental effects of timber sales up to 1,000 acres and prescribed burns up to 4,500 acres before allowing such projects to proceed.
The ruling from the Ninth Circuit said the U.S. Forest Service erred because it:
· Exempted from the National Environmental Policy Act a huge class of logging classified as "fuels reduction" first, and then later gathered the environmental impact data
· Failed to assess the cumulative effects of logging 1.2 million acres per year nationwide
· Failed to assess highly controversial and uncertain risks of impacts
· Failed to put more specific constraints on what can be logged.
Click on the link below to read the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision.