July 3, 2009

Forest Service management rules thrown out

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

So ruled this week Judge Wilkin of the Northern District of California in Citizens for Better Forestry v. U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The case involved an important application of the Supreme Court's decision this last Term in Summers v. Earth Island Institute (PLF participated as amicus).  There, the High Court held that certain environmental groups lacked standing to challenge Forest Service regulations because they could not point to a particular project that would be implemented pursuant to those regulations that would also directly injure the environmentalists' aesthetic interests.  Judge Wilkin distinguished Summers on the grounds that here the environmentalists had already been injured by the alleged procedural irregularities in how the challenged Forest Service rules were promulgated.  That difference allowed Judge Wilkin to address the merits of the environmentalists' claims.  She concluded that the Forest Service had violated both the ESA and NEPA.

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